Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) defended attorney general nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) on Wednesday morning, saying that it had been “tough to watch all this good man has been put through in recent weeks.”
McConnell’s remarks came the morning after he led an effort to silence Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) for reading a letter on the Senate floor harshly critical of Sessions, written by Coretta Scott King.
“We all know our colleague from Alabama. He’s honest. He’s fair. He’s been a friend of many of us on both sides of the aisle,” McConnell said Wednesday. “It’s been tough to watch all this good man has been put through in recent weeks.”
“This is a well-qualified colleague with a deep reverence for the law. He believes strongly in the equal application of it to everyone. In his home state, he’s fought against the forces of hate,” McConnell continued. “In the Senate, he’s developed a record of advocacy for crime victims but also for the fair and humane treatment of those who break our laws, both when they are sentenced and when they are incarcerated.”
The King letter, sent to a Senate committee which ultimately decided against confirming Sessions for a federal judgeship, said in part that “[t]he irony of Mr. Sessions’ nomination is that, if confirmed, he will be given life tenure for doing with a federal prosecution what the local sheriffs accomplished twenty years ago with clubs and cattle prods.”
During Sessions’ confirmation hearings, fellow Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) took the unprecedented step of testifying against his colleague, saying Sessions had “demonstrated a hostility towards these convictions and has worked to frustrate attempts to advance the common good.”