Conservatives rallied to the defense of Attorney General Jeff Sessions this week after President Donald Trump issued a blistering critique of the former Alabama senator to a reporter for The New York Times. Trump’s critique centered on Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, ‘Thanks, Jeff, but I’m not going to take you,'” Trump said in the interview with Maggie Haberman of The Times.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson criticized Trump on Thursday night for attacking Sessions, calling Trump’s remark a “useless, self-destructive act.”

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Trump’s slight was a “worrisome sign the president may be forgetting who is on his side,” said Carlson during his evening program on Fox News Channel. “Pay less attention to The New York Times and more to Matt Drudge,” he said. “Lay off Jeff Sessions. He’s your friend.”

Rick Manning, president of Americans for Limited Government, also lashed out at the president. Trump “should prefer that Sessions continue running 99 percent of the Justice Department while the Russia investigation wraps up than to turn over 100 percent of DOJ to the deep state for the months or year that it would take to confirm a new attorney general,” he said in a statement.

Several conservative Republican lawmakers also stepped in to defend the attorney general.

“The attorney general did what he thought he needed to do based on the law, and I am very disappointed the president would make that kind of statement about a man who I don’t agree with on everything,” Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) told The Hill on Thursday.

“I have the highest opinion of [Sessions],” Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) also told The Hill, “and I believe the president still has a high opinion of Jeff Sessions — I think it’s more an indication of frustration than anything else.”

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Several conservatives were quick to note also that Sessions has shown incredible loyalty to Trump.

“Not only is Jeff Sessions an outstanding attorney general, as the first senator to endorse Trump, he is one of the major reasons Trump did solidly in the south during the GOP primary,” Manning pointed out in his statement.

“If the President expects the American people to stand by him in the months ahead on the tough road to draining the swamp, he must stand by those who have stood with him.”

(photo credit, homepage and article images: Gage Skidmore, Flickr)