Former attorney general Jeff Sessions announced his run for U.S. Senate in the state of Alabama on Thursday evening.
In an appearance on Fox News Tucker Carlson Tonight, Sessions confirmed his entry into the race and addressed his tumultuous relationship with President Trump. While serving as attorney general Sessions recused himself from the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump 2016 presidential campaign and Russian agents, prompting harsh and sustained criticism from Trump.
“The whole [investigation] was very painful for him,” Sessions said, “but, as painful and as prolonged as it was, it did clear him of Russian collusion, and I’m certainly glad that finally happened.”
Sessions also criticized fellow Republicans for not working hard enough to advance Trump’s policies.
“We need to get some Republicans moving,” said Sessions, who “haven’t been pushing hard enough to advance the Trump agenda. And so that’s what I look forward to doing, and I think I can contribute to that.”
A Trump endorsement would represent a sharp reversal in the relationship between the president and one of his earliest supporters and campaign surrogates.
In July 2018, the President publicly admitted that he regretted appointing Sessions to his cabinet. “Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job, and I would have picked somebody else,” he said during an interview with the New York Times.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee will remain neutral during the primary.
“I guess I’d rather go into a Republican primary with the president’s support than without it,” Senator Kevin Cramer of North Dakota commented. “But Jeff Sessions is iconic, and obviously, he’ll be a player right out of the chute.”
“I think the whole campaign is going to be around what President Trump said about Jeff Sessions,” said Senator Lindsey Graham. “I think Jeff knows what he’s getting into, and we’ll leave it up to the voters in Alabama.”
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