Jeff Sessions is walking a shaky tightrope as he tries to win a Senate seat in Trump-loving Alabama while fending off the President’s burning and often-vocalized hatred.
In his most recent attempt to make a stand, Sessions insisted Friday that he did not beg for the attorney general post four times, as President Donald Trump claimed during today’s interview on Fox News.
“I didn’t want to make him Attorney General, but he was the first senator to endorse me. So, I felt a little bit of an obligation,” Trump said in the interview. “He came to see me four times just begging me to be attorney general. He wasn’t equipped to be attorney general, but he just wanted it, wanted it, wanted it.
Sessions rebutted the claim in a statement.
“I never begged for the job of Attorney General, not 4 times, not 1 time, not ever,” he said. “The President offered me the job, I took it, I stood up for the truth and performed at the highest levels.”
He hedged his pushback, adding that he has “enormous appreciation” for the President who constantly insults him in public, and that he looks forward to voting for him in the fall.
During the Friday interview, Trump also called him a “very average guy” and a “disaster” of an attorney general.
Trump has never forgiven Sessions for recusing himself during the Russia probe, and blames him for the ensuing “witch hunt.”
Sessions will battle former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville in a Republican primary runoff pushed to the end of July due to the coronavirus pandemic. The winner will take on incumbent Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) in November.
Read Sessions’ full statement here:
“I have enormous appreciation for President Trump and all that he has done for our country. I will be voting for him this fall, and working hard to pass his agenda when I return to the Senate next year.
“The specific law for the Department of Justice required that I recuse myself from the Russian collusion investigation. To not recuse myself from that investigation, of which I was a target as a senior campaign official and a witness, would have been breaking the law. I do not and will not break the law. On this matter, I agree with the late Tom Petty’s famous lyric – ‘you can stand me up to the gates of hell, but I won’t back down.’
“I did the right thing for the country and for President Trump. If I, as a target of the investigation, had broken the law by not recusing myself, it would have been a catastrophe for the rule of law and for the President. The Democrats in Congress and the politically motivated bureaucrats all over Washington would have had a field day, alleging a Nixonian cover-up, and the President would not have been fully exonerated.
“Let’s not forget, the notion that we on the Trump campaign colluded with Russia has been proven to be a complete hoax, and the President has been exonerated.
“Finally, I never begged for the job of Attorney General, not 4 times, not 1 time, not ever. The President offered me the job, I took it, I stood up for the truth and performed at the highest levels. Doing the right thing is not weakness, it is strength. My foundation is built on rock, not sand.”