Watching Jeff Sessions walk out on that stage at Ladd-Peebles Stadium last August sporting an oversized “Make America Great Again” ball cap to offer his endorsement of Donald Trump for president is still one of the more memorable moments in the most bizarre presidential season ever.
Even then political observers felt strongly that if The Donald won, Mobile’s homeboy would likely end up as U.S. Attorney General — a very big IF at the time. But Sessions put his money on the right horse and after an improbable election win and a bruising confirmation hearing — during which just about every liberal commentator in America spoke matter-of-factly of Sessions’ racism as if he had been a cross-burning member of the Ku Klux Klan — our junior senator won the job he apparently coveted enough to put his political life in Donald Trump’s hands.
It was a pretty big comeback of sorts for a man who was rejected for a federal judgeship based upon those same sketchy racial charges we heard about during his confirmation. It had to be hard for Sessions to stick his neck back out there knowing this rehash of the left-wing doctrine that Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III fought under Lee at Gettysburg, was a boyhood friend of James Earl Ray and bought Bull Conner his first German shepherd was coming.
But he must have thought it would be worth going through all that to run Trump’s Justice Department — back to law-enforcing instead of law-making. But a short four months later the papers are full of stories saying Trump is no longer happy with his AG. The Twitter account serving as the most accurate barometer of which personality has control of the president’s brain that day also indicates the “bromance” may be over.
On Monday Trump lashed out via tweet his obvious displeasure over his Justice Department’s attempts to get judicial approval for his latest travel ban aimed at areas of the world known to produce radical Muslims itching to create terroristic mayhem and death. Trump’s attempts to push through the ban have been stymied by the courts and the DoJ is tasked with trying to win for the president in front of the Supreme Court.
“The Justice Dept. should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to S.C.,” one tweet read.
He added, “The Justice Dept. should ask for an expedited hearing of the watered down Travel Ban before the Supreme Court — & seek much tougher version!”
It couldn’t have been fun for Sessions to see Trump dissing the DoJ so openly. It’s kind of the equivalent of your boss reading your latest subpar quarterly evaluation out over the company intercom. Hopefully by now Sessions is aware the president has a better handle on the definition of “covfefe” than “discreet.”
The evil New York Times added to the mix Monday with a story about the maelstrom and quoted leakers from inside the White House who said Trump is none too happy with Sessions not only for the way DoJ is handling the travel ban, but also because the AG recused himself from the ever-widening investigation into Russian election tampering. According to these leaky people talking to the Times reporters, Trump is especially miffed about the recusal because he believes it led directly to the appointment of a special counsel to handle the investigation.
Sessions has to have noticed, a la James Comey, what happens when Trump doesn’t like the way you’re handling Russia. Gulag time.
All of this leaves one to wonder if, a year after Trump swept him off his feet and took him on a whirlwind ride to the political promised land, Sessions isn’t thinking he may have misjudged who or what he was dealing with. “Did I really give up my sweetheart Senate gig for THIS?!!!” had to be going through his mind Monday.
Let’s face it, Sessions — in our state’s more rustic parlance — was dug in like a tick. He could’ve held that Senate seat until they carried him out feet first in another 15 or 20 years. He could’ve just continued doing whatever it is senators do that makes them multi-millionaires on $174,000 a year.
Now — if we can bring ourselves to turn off Fox News and believe the dreaded New York Times — Sessions’ star may have already waned in the frenetic Trump White House. There’s still a long way to go in this first term if the rather mercurial president is looking at you like a “loser” contestant on “The Apprentice.” How can Sessions not worry Trump might currently be reconsidering his decision to pass over both Meatloaf and Gary Busey for the AG’s position?
It’s also hard not to wonder whether, in the wee hours of the morning as he stares at the ceiling contemplating what he’s done to himself, Sessions also feels any remorse for the hell he unleashed upon his home state by leaving his seat’s appointment to be handled by the totally out of control Robert Bentley.
Certainly one of the more bizarre unintended consequences of last year’s presidential election is that we have 19 people running to fill Jeff Sessions’ seat and, right now at least, the leading candidates are a twice-defrocked judge and a political opportunist of biblical proportions.
It would be hard to get even money these days that anyone in the Trump administration — including Trump himself — will still be there in three months. Of course, some of that may simply be distorted wishful thinking filtering down from pundits and journalists who’ve lost their way because they have Trump rabies. But then again, there’s enough hard, un-spun evidence to suggest keeping or losing the president’s goodwill can boil down to telling him you like his haircut or not being “loyal” when it comes to the Russia investigation.
It is hard to imagine anyone currently working in the administration thinking about what they’ll be doing for this president in seven or eight years. More than a few probably make themselves feel better at night by whispering “President Pence” to themselves before sleep. That may be the only path to longevity for Sessions and many others who changed their political trajectories to “Make America Great Again.”
So, 10 months later, do you that think if Sessions could climb into the fabled DeLorean, hit 88 mph and go back to Ladd-Peebles last August that 2017 Jeff would tell 2016 Jeff to toss that big hat in the wastebasket and just go back home?