On Thursday, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced he would run to retake his U.S. Senate seat next year. If he wins the Republican primary, he will face Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), who defeated a scandal-plagued Roy Moore in the 2017 special election to fill the seat after Sessions joined the Trump administration.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson began his show by asking Sessions point-blank: “Are you running for Senate?”
“Yes, we’ll file our papers tomorrow,” Sessions replied.
Sessions resigned his Senate seat and was confirmed as Attorney General in February 2017. He resigned that office last November at President Trump’s request. The attorney general had recused himself from the Trump-Russia investigation, a decision Trump did not appreciate. The president also criticized Sessions for refusing to investigate Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and various employees of the FBI and Justice Department.
Trump tweeted, “Our A.G. is scared stiff and Missing in Action.”
Carlson asked if Sessions regretted leaving the Senate. “I don’t ever worry about regretting things like that.” He said he appreciated the opportunity to “push the Trump agenda and do it in an honorable way. It was actually a great experience.”
The former AG shared an ad expressing his support for the Trump agenda and criticizing the former Trump administration staff who went straight to the media after leaving the administration.
This is a crucial time in our nation's history. The left has become unhinged and they are threatening the very things that make America great. I'm running for U.S. Senate because we have to fight back. Let's go! https://t.co/E1Ti9aYKNT pic.twitter.com/IlueZhTiT4
— Jeff Sessions (@jeffsessions) November 8, 2019
“I believe in this agenda. I was for this agenda before President Trump announced. I supported it when he was president. When he was running for president, I supported him. If I return to the Senate, no senator in the Senate will be more effective in advancing Trump’s agenda than I would be,” Sessions told Tucker Carlson.
When asked about the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, Sessions insisted there wasn’t “anything close to an impeachment case.”
“I just cannot see an impeachment case here. It’s just been a continuous political attack on him from day one,” he said.
Sessions is joining a crowded Republican field. Roy Moore, former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court and the candidate who lost to Jones in 2017 amid claims of sexual assault (which Moore denied), has entered the race, but he stands in a distant third place, according to the most recent poll. Former Auburn Tigers Head Coach Tommy Tuberville leads the pack with 32 percent, with Rep. Bradley Byrne in a distant second at 18 percent. Moore (11 percent) and Secretary of State John Merrill (9 percent) trail Tuberville and Byrne.
Sessions is almost certain to shake up the race and extremely likely to win both the Republican primary and the general election. His greatest liability may be President Trump himself. If Trump sees Sessions as insufficiently loyal, he may endorse someone else.
While the former attorney general recused himself from the Trump-Russia investigation, he still fought hard on important issues. In August 2018, he powerfully denounced the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a far-left smear factory that brands mainstream conservative groups “hate groups,” pressuring hotels, credit card companies, and Big Tech to blacklist them — and has often worked with law enforcement.
Sessions pledged that under his leadership, the Department of Justice “will not partner with groups that unfairly defame Americans for standing up for the Constitution or their faith,” specifically the Southern Poverty Law Center. Speaking to Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) — a group the SPLC falsely accused of being a “hate group” — Sessions declared, “You are not a hate group.”
“People of faith are facing a new hostility. Really, a bigoted ideology which is founded on animus towards people of faith,” Sessions explained. “You’ll notice that they don’t rely on the facts. They don’t make better arguments. They don’t propose higher ideals. No, they just call people names—like ‘hate group.'”
Trump may not be happy with Sessions’ desire to recuse himself from the Trump-Russia investigation, but attacking this strong conservative statesman would be a grievous mistake. Sessions truly is loyal to Trump, and he’s a fighter for conservative values. The president should endorse him, during or after the primary.
The Alabama Senate seat is a perfect pick-up for Republicans in 2020. Doug Jones is likely hoping to defeat Roy Moore again to hold on to the seat. In a repeat of 2017, the Democrat could definitely pull it off. He wouldn’t stand a chance against Jeff Sessions.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.