Despite the best efforts of those on the far Left, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions’ confirmation as the next U.S. attorney general is backed by the entire spectrum of Republicans — and almost certainly will pass through the Senate Judiciary Committee.
In a concerted effort to disqualify Sessions from the position in the Trump Cabinet, leftists have done everything in their power to dredge up controversies from Sessions’ past, attempting to paint him as a racist in order to convince Senate Democrats to oppose his nomination. But in doing so, the extreme leftists have forgotten one key fact: During Sessions’ 20 years serving in the Senate, he has reaped effusive praise from Republicans of all ideologies, as well as from some Democrats who have worked in close proximity to the former Alabama attorney general.
Playing the “racism” card seems to be one of the Left’s favorite strategies to discredit and sully those who promote policies with which they disagree.
“Nevertheless, leading Senate Democrats are determined to defeat (or, more likely, simply delay) Sessions’ confirmation. Their argument? That he is ‘outside the mainstream’ and has demonstrated ‘racist’ tendencies,” Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots, wrote Friday in an op-ed for The Washington Times.
“How can a senator, with a straight face, make an argument that another colleague is ‘outside the mainstream’ or, worse, a ‘racist,’ if they’ve co-sponsored legislation together?” Martin added, noting that at least nine leading Senate Democrats have co-sponsored multiple bills with Sessions over the years. “What Democrat in his or her right mind would co-sponsor legislation with a ‘racist’?”
Indeed, what possibly could have possessed Sessions’ Democratic colleagues to suddenly reverse course and hypocritically oppose Trump’s pick for attorney general after singing his praises for years?
In questioning Sessions’ suitability, incoming Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer backtracked on his past praise of the Alabama senator as someone who exhibits “fairness” and who “set a very good example” during his years of prosecuting gun cases, as the Washington Examiner noted. Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin called Sessions “a man of his word” during a confirmation hearing in 2010 for Elena Kagan. And Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, the Democrats’ most senior serving senator since 1975, once called Sessions “wonderful to work with” and praised him for his vast experience.
But now, all of these senators and Democrats seem to have suffered from a sudden case of acute amnesia. All the praise and gracious words they offered Sessions over the years evaporated from their memories when they jumped on the extremist bandwagon to oppose Trump’s nominees — just because they are Trump’s.
Playing the “racism” card seems to be one of the Left’s favorite strategies to discredit and sully those who promote policies with which they disagree. If someone is tough on illegal immigration, he’s a racist. If someone supports voter ID laws, he’s a racist. Because Sessions may have uttered a few controversial remarks decades ago, he is, of course, a racist whose 20 years of serving in the Senate and his years spent serving as a U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Alabama and as Alabama’s attorney general are moot, apparently.
“Given some of his past statements and his staunch opposition to immigration reform, I am very concerned about what he would do with the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice and want to hear what he has to say,” Schumer said in a statement in November.
But Sessions’ accusers and detractors made one embarrassingly glaring omission when they suddenly began to grumble against him: Sessions has garnered — and still holds — the support and praise of African-Americans.
Donald V. Watkins, a law school contemporary, recalled that Sessions was the first white student ever to ask him to join a campus organization when he invited Watkins to attend the Young Republicans.
“Jeff was a conservative then, as he is now, but he was NOT a racist,” Watkins wrote in a Facebook post back in May, that he then reposted in November.
Watkins expressed his regret that he didn’t come forward as a character witness when Sessions faced opposition in 1986 over then-President Ronald Reagan’s nomination to serve as a federal judge. Sessions’ nomination ultimately was rejected when the racism allegations won the day.
“I should have volunteered to stand by his side and tell the story of his true character at his confirmation hearing,” Watkins wrote. “The fact that I did not rise on my own to defend Jeff’s good name and character haunted me for years. I promised Jeff that I would never stand idly by and allow another good and decent person to endure a similar character assassination if it was within my power to stop it.”
Other African-American politicians have come forward to support Donald Trump’s attorney general nomination.
“I have worked with Sen. Sessions on education policy and securing federal funding for our schools,” Sen. Quinton Ross, the Democratic leader of the Alabama Senate, said in a press release in early December. “I know him personally and all of my encounters with him have been for the greater good of Alabama.”
Ross continued, “We’ve spoken about everything from civil rights to race relations and we agree that as Christian men our hearts and minds are focused on doing right by all people. We both acknowledge that there are no perfect men, but we continue to work daily to do the right thing for all people.”
Why would Ross — an African-American and a Democrat — offer such high praise for Sessions if the U.S. senator really were a bigoted racist?
“Sen. Sessions is a good man and a great man. He has done more to protect the jobs and enhance the wages of black workers than anyone in either house of Congress over the last 10 years,” U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner Peter Kirsanow, who is also an African-American, told Breitbart back in November. “It’s scandalous that they’re trying to say he’s a racist.”
“I am proud to support Sen. Jeff Sessions to be the next attorney general of the United States,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah.
Noting that Sessions was one of the only Republican senators to support President Obama’s nomination of African-American Eric Holder for attorney general, Mark Hemingway, a senior writer for The Weekly Standard, said that “Sessions’ actual track record certainly doesn’t suggest he’s a racist.”
“As a U.S. attorney, he filed several cases to desegregate schools in Alabama. And he also prosecuted [Klu Klux] Klansman Henry Francis Hays, son of Alabama Klan leader Bennie Hays, for abducting and killing Michael Donald, a black teenager selected at random,” Hemingway wrote in November. “The successful prosecution of Hays also led to a $7 million civil judgment against the Klan, effectively breaking the back of the KKK in Alabama.”
Although Sessions’ Democratic Senate colleagues have been pressured to oppose his nomination to serve as the U.S. attorney general in the Trump administration, the Alabama senator enjoys no shortage of support elsewhere. The Judicial Crisis Network recently launched a campaign called ConfirmSessions.com with a six-figure ad buy to support Sessions, whom the site says “has worked tirelessly to defend the civil and legal rights of all Americans.”
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia broke with his colleagues and praised Sessions’ nomination, telling journalist Salena Zito during an interview that he supported Sessions. In addition to the support he receives from Tea Party members such as Martin, Sessions also enjoys support from Republicans at the opposite end of the conservative spectrum.
Maine Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican known for her more moderate and centrist policy positions, endorsed Sessions’ attorney general nomination. “He is an individual who works hard, believes in public service and acts with integrity,” Collins said in a statement. “As a former U.S. attorney and former Alabama attorney general, Senator Sessions is well-qualified and would serve our country well as United States attorney general.”
Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the president pro tempore of the United States Senate and the Republican Party’s current most senior-serving senator, wrote an op-ed in The Washington Times on Dec. 11 in which he urged the Senate Judiciary Committee to confirm Sessions.
“Thomas Jefferson wrote that government’s most sacred duty is ‘to do equal and impartial justice to all its citizens,'” Hatch wrote. “No one understands that mission more thoroughly, or believes it more deeply, than Jeff Sessions. I am proud to support Sen. Jeff Sessions to be the next attorney general of the United States. His experience, principles, and common sense are just what the Justice Department needs to chart the right course.”