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Jeff Sessions Attempts To Backpedal After Calling Black Harvard Professor 'Some Criminal'

Jeff Sessions Attempts To Backpedal After Calling Black Harvard Professor 'Some Criminal'
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

After his unceremonious resignation in 2018 from the office of Attorney General, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III has been quiet. Quieter at least than some of the other former officials of Donald Trump's administration.

That said, he's gotten a little louder in his run to again be the GOP candidate for the US Senate in Alabama. Sessions was a Senator for Alabama for 20 years before being picked by Trump to serve as his first Attorney General.

Sessions attempt to return to the Senate comes in opposition to the wishes of Trump. Which initially sounds great, to have a former Trump lackey like Sessions contesting Trump's authority over the Republican Party.

It's almost enough to make you forget Sessions was one of the more problematic figures in the administration.

Sessions got in hot water over comments he made in a New York Times profile covering his political career.

In it, Sessions criticizes former President Barack Obama.

"The police had been demoralized."
"There's a riot, and he has a beer at the White House with some criminal, to listen to him. Wasn't having a beer with the police officers."

The description was traced to the 2009 incident where Black Harvard University professor Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. was wrongfully arrested for entering his own home.

President Obama called an infamous "Beer Summit" to have Dr. Gates and the arresting officer meet and discuss things over some beers.

It's very telling that in Sessions faulty recollection of the incident that:

  1. He doesn't remember that both the falsely arrested man and the police officer were there for beers with the President.
  2. He doesn't remember that the Black man invited was not "some criminal."

People wondered why.

Sessions was quickly called out about his comments, with people on both the right and left condemning his characterization of Gates as a criminal.

This isn't good for Sessions' Senate hopes, who is currently trailing his Trump endorsed competition, Tommy Tuberville, for the Alabama Republican primary.

Luckily, Siraj Hashmi of the ultra conservative Washington Examiner had an interview with the Senate hopeful and gave him a chance to explain.

This was the best Sessions could come up with.

Hashmi in the interview sets up Sessions for a softball question, giving him the chance to explain and clarify his statements.

Sessions takes this opportunity to backpedal.

"I don't know all the details, I just made a reference to the fact that [Obama] did bring in the guy who was accused of wrongdoing into the White House."
"I didn't accuse him of anything. I didn't name him. I didn't have a clear recollection of it."

That's worse.

Does he understand how that's worse?

This shows the unconscious bias in Sessions mind. He didn't have a clear memory of the event, but there was a Black man being invited for beers with the President, and Sessions automatically thought "some criminal."

While many pointed out Gates' reputation as a scholar, no amount of respectability was enough to shield him from being viewed as just "some criminal."

There's the fear that if Session loses his bid for the Alabama Republican candidacy, Trump pick Tuberville will beat incumbent Democrat Doug Jones. But that doesn't make Sessions the good guy here.

During the 2018 midterm election, Democrats regained control of the House of Representatives and lost just two Senate seats in an election cycle where the majority of Senators on the ballot were incumbent Democrats. In 2020 the numbers are reversed with 35 total Senate seats being decided on November 3, 2020.

23 of those seats on the 2020 ballot are currently held by the GOP.

The Democrats only need to flip 3-4 seats to take control of the Senate and remove Mitch McConnell as Senate Majority Leader, regardless of whether McConnell is reelected for a 6th time or not.

In addition to Mitch McConnell trying to hold onto his Senate seat for the state of Kentucky, the following Republican Senators will fight to keep their seats in November:

Dan Sullivan (AK), Tom Cotton (AR), Martha McSally (AZ), Cory Gardner (CO), Kelly Loeffler (GA), David Perdue (GA), Joni Ernst (IA), James Risch (ID), Bill Cassidy (LA), Susan Collins (ME), Cindy Hyde-Smith (MS), Steve Daines (MT), Thom Tillis (NC), Ben Sasse (NE), Jim Inhofe (OK), Lindsey Graham (SC), Mike Rounds (SD), John Cornyn (TX) and Shelley Moore Capito (WV).

As of Monday, July 13, the 2020 election is 112 days away.

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