It’s no secret that President Trump has harbored a grudge against Jeff Sessions ever since Sessions, as the Trump Administration’s first attorney general, recused himself from the Russia collusion delusion investigation.
Like many others, I was frustrated by Sessions’ recusal and said as much in 2018. Yet, Sessions had no legal choice but to recuse himself once President Trump went on MSNBC to gloat over his decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey for the grotesque Russia investigation.
What’s more, Jeff Sessions is someone who has a solid record on immigration policy, the issue that got Trump elected. In fact, when it comes to immigration, Sessions was one of the few consistent bright lights in the Senate over the last several decades.
Now that Sessions is running to reclaim his lost Senate seat, President Trump is wading into the Republican primary in Alabama to demand that Alabama voters support Sessions’ imbecilic opponent who supports open borders, Tommy Tuberville. Once again, the president is exhibiting poor political judgment of the sort that helped Democrats win the midterms in 2018.
Patterns of Poor Political Judgment
The truth is that President Trump never should have offered to make Jeff Sessions attorney general without first having done his due diligence. By taking Sessions away from the Senate, Trump created a gaping hole in what was once a safe and reliable Republican seat. The president constantly rages against Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. Yet, Trump is the one who should have done the proper level of vetting for all of his cabinet appointees to ensure that there were no conflicts of interest.
Clearly, Trump did not do this.
Besides, no one told Trump to go to the press and gloat about how he fired Comey. That is, after all, what prompted the whole imbroglio with Sessions to begin with. The president likes to blame Sessions for doing that which Sessions was legally required to do (since 2018, I’ve spoken to a retinue of attorneys who insist that Sessions had no choice but to recuse himself).
Should Sessions instead have broken the law?
Further highlighting Trump’s poor political judgment in this instance, the president left the selection of Sessions’ Republican replacement in the 2018 midterms to none other than the quiet “NeverTrump” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). The most obvious replacement for Sessions was the solidly conservative Mo Brooks. Instead, McConnell wanted the lukewarm, pro-amnesty Luther Strange.
At the time, Trump’s former adviser, Steve Bannon, supported Strange’s primary opponent, Roy Moore. Of course, Moore was much closer to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” beliefs. Nevertheless, Trump supported Luther Strange—who lost decisively to the far more Trumpian Roy Moore—out of spite for his former White House adviser. It was wrong, especially coming from a president who demands the loyalty of those working for him. It seems he rarely exhibits this quality himself (just ask General Flynn, who continues to languish under the false accusations that he was a Russian stooge).
Of course, a smear campaign was waged against Moore in the pages of the Washington Post which claimed that Moore was a sexual deviant. To compound matters, Moore’s public presentation of himself came across as weird. And it is believed that people close to McConnell were feeding these rumors about Roy Moore to the Post. Whether the claims were true or not, Roy Moore was always a terrible candidate. Yet when 2018 ended, the most decisively Republican Senate seat was lost to one of the most left-wing, pro-abortion politicians imaginable: Doug Jones. This was all because of the poor political judgment of the president: he should not have taken Sessions out of the Senate and, when he did, Trump should have pressured the GOP to place the strongest, most conservative candidate (Mo Brooks) as Sessions’ replacement.
Now that Sessions is seeking to reclaim his old Senate seat from the infanticidal, pro-illegal immigration Democratic Senator Doug Jones, Trump is yet again supporting the wrong Republican candidate. Like Luther Strange, Tommy Tuberville will not win and instead will cede Alabama’s Senate seat to the virulently NeverTrump Doug Jones. Trump’s political judgment on this matter is so bad, in fact, that Ann Coulter may be correct when she says the president is handing the Senate over to the Democrats in November with antics like this.
There Are No Perfect Choices in Politics
American politics is about taking the bitter with the better. Rarely will a candidate for office be everything to everyone (just ask Bill Press about Barack Obama). If, however, one can find a candidate who supports the right policies and at the same time is a relatively decent human being while being loyal, as Sessions is, one should do his part to keep him in office. Especially when the alternatives are so bad.
Despite the fact that things between President Trump and Sessions ended badly, the former attorney general continues to defend the president and does his best to formulate issues in a way to help the president heading into 2020. Sessions exhibits no vindictiveness, no bitterness. He is the consummate professional.
Which is more than I can say for Trump.
Jeff Sessions is a man the Republican Party and Alabama need representing them in the Senate. He is civil, smart, and strong. Sessions has exercised political and policy judgments over the course of his career that are better than those of the president who doggedly (and unfairly) besmirches Sessions’ good name—and continues weakening the Republican position in Alabama. Sessions would be a consistent ally in the Senate for President Trump, if the president would just get out of his own way and let bygones be bygones. Sessions deserves to win the Senate seat in November more than Open Borders Tuberville.
President Trump is behaving like Captain Queeg after he lost his beloved strawberries in the great Humphrey Bogart film, The Caine Mutiny. It’s embarrassing. The president apparently fails to understand the consequences of his wading into the Alabama Senate primary fight: by damaging Sessions, Trump will split the Republican vote in Alabama, and only empower the much worse Doug Jones.
And should Tommy Tuberville somehow actually win the Senate seat, Trump will only have elevated a man who is opposed to his immigration platform—the real reason why Trump won in 2016.
I’ll vote for Donald Trump over Joe Biden in November because I prefer The Caine Mutiny to Mr. Magoo. But let’s not delude ourselves any longer about the president’s shabby political judgment. If Trump is not careful, he’ll ensure that the GOP loses the Senate to the Democrats in 2020, which will kill his agenda should the president get a second term.
Alabama voters should ignore Trump’s rage-tweets and vote for Jeff Sessions in November.