In a political system where the Establishment leaders in Congress cannot be counted on to support the people’s interests, the nation needs a champion in the White House, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama said in a sit-down interview with LifeZette Editor-in-Chief Laura Ingraham on Monday.

With the facts as they now stand, that champion is not Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

“Two big issues to me, I’m not sure which one is the largest,” Sessions said in his Senate office. “Probably immigration, they just simply have tried to ignore that. The Establishment in both parties just won’t talk about it. Trump has forced that into the discussion today.” He added, “And then trade, I’ve been looking at the trade agreements. I’ve supported them in the past, but they are not producing what has been promised.”

Sessions was adamant that voters need to consider the candidates’ positions on the issues carefully before casting their vote in the primaries.

“The American people need to withhold their vote until they are sure the person they are voting for is willing to stand on these issues.”

For Rubio’s part, his role in the Gang of Eight amnesty bill in 2013, his vote for Fast Track Trade Authority, and months of waffling on whether he will support the final Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement all have put him outside the mold of the champion Sen. Sessions says the people need in this election.

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“I think anybody who gets nominated as a Republican should oppose that agreement,” Sessions said, referring to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. Asked by Ingraham whether that meant he could not endorse Rubio, Sessions said, “I think that’s fair to say. He said by May he would do this. But look, we need to know now, before these primaries. The American people need to judge their candidates. I assume he’s for it. He said it’s one of the three pillars of his foreign policy. He voted for Fast Track in the Senate.”

Asked about Rubio and other Establishment figures’ justifications for the bargain as a counter-move to China’s economic influence in the region, Sessions dismissed the notion. “That’s a globalist argument, but it’s not sound, and we will expose that as being short-sighted and not correct.”

Discussing the recent rise in border enforcement officials speaking out on the situation on the border — and the instructions received to essentially stand down — Sessions noted the lack of input from law enforcement has been a longstanding problem with Establishment figures like Rubio, dating back to the Gang of Eight amnesty bill.

“They met for weeks, months really, to draft this bill for amnesty that I opposed, and was eventually stopped in the House. I kept asking, ‘Why don’t you have law enforcement in these meetings? Don’t you need their technical expertise to figure out how to end the lawlessness?'” Sessions said. “They would never let them in and even rejected the ideas that they proposed … The federal officers who enforced this, ICE officers, border patrol, USCIS, firmly and totally condemned the Gang of Eight bill.”

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“We do not have people in the Senate or the House sufficiently willing to stand before the American people and say, ‘We have this dramatic, huge surge of immigration into America,'” Sessions also said.

“The emperor has no clothes on these things, so the American people are being hurt by [trade and immigration], their wages, their job opportunities, their children’s opportunities,” Sessions continued. “It’s going to be a huge issue in this election.”

Asked which 2016 GOP candidate is the best on those critical issues, Sessions pointed to Trump.

“I happened to catch Trump yesterday in his Atlanta speech. I thought he was very clear, and very strong on trade. Nobody is close to that as of this date, I have to say,” Sessions said.

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“[Trump] has validated my view that the American people will respond if these issues are properly discussed with them, and nobody really did until Trump, and he surged to the top,” Sessions noted. “I think those issues have more power than he is being given credit for. They all want to say it’s just his personality, or people are angry, they’re thoughtless, they’re not thinking. The American people are thinking, and they are concerned about both of these issues, and Trump has gained support on that.”

When Ingraham alluded to whether Sessions would be interested in a cabinet job in a Trump administration, Sessions laughed off the notion with his usual humility before saying: “I believe that with regard to lawfulness, immigration, and trade, good people, working for a strong president, can make a huge and positive difference.”

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