Racist Donald Trump And Racist Senator Are A Match Made In Alabama

One of the most well known Republican politicians to endorse Donald Trump’s ideas for immigration reform so far is Alabama’s junior senator, Jeff Sessions. In addition to being one of the most conservative members of the U.S. Senate, Sessions may also be, at least among current senators, the most racist.

Sessions was present at Trump’s big Alabama rally on August 21, where, according to CNN, he stopped short of an official endorsement of “The Donald.” But Sessions did appear on stage wearing what CNN called a “Trump-branded hat.” And while he didn’t give Trump a full endorsement, CNN says that Sessions endorsed Trump’s immigration policies. When it comes to immigration, Sessions and Trump are the proverbial “two peas in a pod.”

In 2013, Sessions was a one man attack squad, fighting against the bi-partisan immigration bill that was making its way through the Senate. Sessions ultimately lost that fight, as the bill passed the Senate by a 68-32 vote. But he didn’t give up his battle against immigration, and immigrants.

This past January, Sessions, who at the time had just taken over the Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on immigration,  issued a memo titled “Immigration Handbook for the New Republican Majority.” In that memo he ties immigration to welfare and stagnant middle class wages. He says:

“The last four decades have witnessed the following: a period of record, uncontrolled immigration to the United States; a dramatic rise in the number of persons receiving welfare; and a steep erosion in middle class wages.”

Sessions actually correctly identifies some of the problems when it comes to jobs and wages in the U.S. But then he connects those problems to immigrants and immigration. He asks if it makes sense to continue importing low-wage workers while at the same time “sustaining millions of current residents on welfare.” Of course he doesn’t touch the fact that because wages are so low, many of those Americans who are receiving welfare benefits would continue to receive them at some level, even if they were working in a job that is currently being done by an undocumented worker.

Then there’s the whole issue of whether immigrants take American jobs at all. The Berkshire Immigrant Center says that by and large, they do not. Not only that, but immigrants pay taxes and contribute to the American economy, while at the same time being ineligible to receive many of those welfare benefits that Sessions is concerned about. But hey, that doesn’t matter to Jeff Sessions. We’ve got new brown people coming in to do the crappy jobs that our own brown people should be doing!

In June, Sessions introduced a bill to toughen border protection, as well as crack down on “sanctuary cities,” that do not turn over undocumented residents to federal authorities.

All of his attention to immigration has endeared Sessions to Trump. In mid-August, The Washington Post reported that Sessions’ office had confirmed that Trump was consulting with the senator on immigration policy. According to the Post, Trump gave Sessions his stamp of approval. “I like him,” Trump said. “Tough guy. I like that. We have a similar thought process.”

That comment makes you wonder just how much of Sessions’ “thought process” is shared by Trump. In addition to his recent hard line on immigration, Sessions has what Sarah Wildman graciously refers to as a “checkered past” when it comes to other issues involving race. In a 2009 article in The Guardian, Wildman describes some of the circumstances that led to the rejection of Sessions’ nomination to a federal judgeship by the Senate.

President Reagan nominated Sessions, who was at the time U.S. Attorney for the southern district of Alabama, in 1986. Since most of the nominees that had been sent to the Senate by Reagan had been approved without issue, it was assumed that the same fate awaited Sessions. But Democrats raised objections, and Sessions’ nomination failed to clear the Republican controlled judiciary committee.

Sarah Wildman described the circumstances surrounding what derailed Sessions’ nomination:

“Senate Democrats tracked down a career justice department employee named J Gerald Hebert, who testified, albeit reluctantly, that in a conversation between the two men Sessions had labelled the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) ‘un-American’ and ‘communist-inspired.’ Hebert said Sessions had claimed these groups ‘forced civil rights down the throats of people.’

In his confirmation hearings, Sessions sealed his own fate by saying such groups could be construed as ‘un-American’ when ‘they involve themselves in promoting un-American positions’ in foreign policy. Hebert testified that the young lawyer tended to ‘pop off’ on such topics regularly, noting that Sessions had called a white civil rights lawyer a ‘disgrace to his race’ for litigating voting rights cases.”

That’s right, the man who is now advising Donald Trump on immigration was, in 1986, considered too racist to be supported by even some Republicans. Two Republicans, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, and Charles Matthias of Maryland, voted with Democrats in opposition to Sessions’ nomination, which failed to win a committee recommendation by a vote of 10-8. The committee deadlocked, 9-9, on whether to send the nomination to the full Senate with no recommendation, which meant that the nomination was dead.

To be fair, that was almost 30 years ago, and people do change. But if anything, Sessions has changed for the worst. Attorney Victor Williams, who has been acquainted with Sessions for years, wrote in The Huffington Post that Sessions was once considered a “moderate.” But in his 2014 piece, Williams says that over the years, Sessions has moved from “moderate,” to “conservative, then hard-right; now hard-hearted.” Which makes him sound like a perfect companion for Trump.

Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump. A racist match made in Alabama.

Featured image via Michael VadonGage Skidmore/Flickr composite