Senate Republicans suspect that only a sitting senator who is unconditionally loyal to President Donald Trump and respects Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe could get both chosen and confirmed if Trump fires Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
But none of them want the job.
According to a Wednesday Politico report, Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John Cornyn (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT), all hypothetical candidates, have begged off and asserted that they are happy where they are.
It’s not hard to see why. With Trump’s almost weekly pummeling of Sessions in the public eye and complete lack of attention to, much less appreciation for, the success with which Sessions has pushed through his agenda, the job can’t seem very attractive.
Per Politico, Trump wants a pit bull defender, someone in the role who would only answer to him and look out for his interests. That kind of person would likely fail confirmation, assuming that Democrats vote as a bloc and are joined by some Republicans. One such Republican is Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE), who has said that it would be “really difficult” for him to support a Sessions replacement.
The confirmation stumbling block is plaguing Trump in other departments as well.
Feeling misled by his Defense Secretary’s “Mad Dog” moniker, Trump has reportedly taken to calling Jim Mattis “Moderate Mattis” in private, and is eager to replace him.
Unfortunately for Trump, his shortlist includes Sens. Graham and Tom Cotton (R-AR), both of whom have expressed disinterest in the job. According to Politico, Republicans also seem to be more vehement in their support for Mattis than Sessions.
As Politico points out, since Scott Pruitt’s departure, the EPA administrator job is still open as well.
If the blue wave becomes more like a tsunami and the Republicans lose their Senate majority after the midterms, these posts are even less likely to change hands.