Alabama GOP says Trump mistreats Sessions, their native son Top News

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Alabama GOP says Trump mistreats Sessions, their native son Top News


jeff sessions
Attorney
General Jeff Sessions speaks at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in
Philadelphia, Friday, July 21, 2017.

Associated Press/Matt Rourke

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — President Donald Trump finds some of his
strongest support in Alabama, but his public flogging of Attorney
General Jeff Sessions is dismaying Republicans who consider the
conservative stalwart a home state hero.

Trump’s near-daily Twitter humiliation of Sessions, an apparent
effort to force him to quit, is putting party members in awkward
positions. Only weeks remain before a special primary election
for the U.S. Senate seat Sessions vacated to become the nation’s
top law enforcer. Suddenly, it doesn’t seem so harmonious to
simultaneously cheer for the president and Alabama’s native son.

“You just don’t treat people like this,” Joe Akin, a 79-year-old
engineer and Trump voter in Birmingham, said after turning off
his TV in frustration.

“If you want to have a discussion with someone, you do it across
the conference table, you don’t get on Facebook or whatever,”
Akin said. “There’s an awful lot of things I like about Trump,
but he’s got to learn he’s not running his own business.”

Sessions was the first leading elected Republican to endorse
Trump’s candidacy, and became one of his most loyal supporters.
But Trump’s view of him changed after Sessions belatedly admitted
to meeting with Russia’s ambassador during the campaign and
recused himself from the intensifying federal investigation into
election meddling.

On Twitter, Trump called Sessions “beleaguered,” accused him of
having a “VERY WEAK position on Hillary Clinton crimes,” and
alleged that he’s ignoring conflicts of interest in the Justice
Department. Asked whether he intends to fire Sessions or push him
to resign, the president told a reporter that “time will tell.”


Donald Trump Mike Pence Paul Ryan
President
Donald Trump with Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker
Paul Ryan.

AP

Sessions was at the White House Wednesday as Trump sent one of
those tweets, but didn’t meet with the president. Trump is
“obviously disappointed” with his attorney general, White House
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, waving away other
questions.

All three GOP candidates in the Aug. 15 Senate primary have
competed to show voters just how much like Trump they can be. But
U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks on Wednesday said supporting Sessions now “is
the right thing for Alabama and America.”

“I support President Trump’s policies, but this public
waterboarding of one of the greatest people Alabama has ever
produced is inappropriate and insulting to the people of Alabama
who know Jeff Sessions so well and elected him so often by
overwhelming margins,” Brooks said.

Brooks even offered to step aside and encouraged his rivals —
Sen. Luther Strange, who now holds the seat by appointment, and
former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore — to step aside as well to
enable Sessions to return to the Senate.

Others were more cautious, praising Sessions but saying little
about Trump in a state where his presidency has been highly
popular.

Strange blamed the media.

“Jeff and President Trump are trying to make America great again,
and it’s a privilege to work alongside both to accomplish the
Trump agenda for the American people, and we need to stop letting
the media distract us from that agenda,” he said.


Jeff Sessions
Attorney
General Jeff Sessions speaks at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in
Philadelphia, Friday, July 21, 2017.

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Mitch Dozier, a 38-year-old from Montgomery who manages
commercial property and describes himself as a staunch
Republican, said he hasn’t seen a “smoking gun,” but the Russia
investigation merits deeper scrutiny. And while he said the
president has the right to lash out, he thinks Trump is clearly
harnessing social media against Sessions, whose recusal prevents
him from shutting down the probe.

“I think everybody is a little fed up with the president’s antics
on Twitter,” Dozier said.

Sessions, a former state attorney general, built a reputation
during 20 years in the Senate as a hardliner on immigration who
often butted heads with GOP leaders. He got behind Trump’s 2016
campaign when other politicians, even in Alabama, were staying
away. Sessions joined Trump on stage in a rally that filled a
football stadium in Mobile before Trump won the state’s GOP
primary by 20 points, one of his largest victory margins.

Trump has now denigrated that moment, too, suggesting Sessions
only endorsed him when he saw so many Trump voters in the
audience.

Republican Gov. Kay Ivey, who attended high school with Sessions,
said “those two gentlemen will work it out in some fashion.”

Alabama’s senior Republican Sen. Richard Shelby said he called
Sessions and spoke with him for several minutes. He didn’t say if
Sessions telegraphed any intentions. But Shelby said “I think
loyalty ought to be a two-way street.”

Alabama GOP says Trump mistreats Sessions, their native son Top News

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Alabama GOP says Trump mistreats Sessions, their native son Top News

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