Congressional Black Caucus and LDF Call Him a Racist
By Frederick H. Lowe
President-elect Donald Trump will nominate U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions U.S. Attorney General, and his selection was immediately blasted by the Congressional Black Caucus and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) given Sessions’ long history of making racist statements about African Americans and his support of the Klu Klux Klan, a white terrorist organization.
President-elect Trump announced on Friday that he planned to nominate Sen. Sessions, one of Trump’s earliest supporters. The junior senator from Alabama is a 69-year-old Republican. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996. Prior to taking a seat in the Senate, Sessions, a native of Selma, Ala., served as Alabama Attorney General and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama from 1981 to 1993.
Opposition to African Americans
The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund issued a three-page rebuke of Sessions in which the organization posted a timeline listing his opposition to hate crime legislation, same sex marriage and the violence against women act. Most of Sessions’ hatred, however, has been directed at African Americans.
In 1986, the Senate Judiciary Committee rejected Sessions’ nomination to serve as a U.S. district court judge in Alabama based on his record of opposing civil rights, making racist comments and general concerns about his ability to preside impartially, particularly with respect to civil rights and rights of African Americans, LDF reported.
During the same hearing, Thomas Figures, an African-American Assistant U.S. attorney, testified that Sessions had called him “boy.” Sessions also said he approved of the Klu Klux Klan until he learned members smoked marijuana. Figures said he took that as a serious statement.
Also at the 1986 hearing, Sessions called the NAACP and ACLU “un-American” and “communist-inspired” groups that “forced civil rights down the throats of people.”
“Jeff Sessions has a decades-long record—from his early days as a prosecutor to his present role as a Senator—of opposing civil rights and equality,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, LDF president and director-counsel.”It is unimaginable that he could be entrusted to serve as the chief law enforcement officer for this nation’s civil rights laws. This is another signal from the incoming administration that it is not only prepared to turn its back on equality, it is actively working to continue to sow division and undo decades of progress.”
Congressional Black Caucus Opposes the Nomination
The Congressional Black Caucus also took issue with Sessions’ nomination.
“We face an alarming choice in the selection of Senator Jeff Sessions to serve as the chief law enforcer for the United States of America,” said G.K. Butterfield, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. “Senator Sessions’ civil rights record is appalling and should disqualify him from Senate confirmation.”
Butterfield added: “Senators Sessions has continuously obstructed the progress that we’ve made since the historic Civil Rights legislation of the 1960s. Senator Sessions has blocked legislative efforts to ensure racial equality in minority communities, including opposition to President Obama’s judicial nominations and full enforcement of the Voting Rights Act.”
Butterfield predicted Sessions will face an uphill battle to be confirmed. But he is a member of the Senate, and it is unlikely his fellow senators will deny him the nomination. Already, many of them were singing his praises.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called Sessions “principled, forthright, and hardworking.”
“He cares deeply about his country and the department he will be nominated to lead,” McConnell said.
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said that he has known Sessions for more than two decades.
“He has the experience and ability to serve as Attorney General of the United States,” Graham said. “He was an early supporter of Donald Trump in the Senate and he has earned the right to serve President-elect Trump and our nation at the highest level.”
David Duke, former Grand Wizard of the KKK, also praised Sessions’ nomination. Duke said Sessions’ nomination is the first step in taking “America back.”