Trump calls Sessions ‘slime,’ urges him to exit Senate race


    In this Feb. 28, 2016, file photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, right, stands next to Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., as Sessions speaks during a rally in Madison, Ala. Sessions, at that time, was the only senator to endorse Trump during the presidential contest. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

    A Twitter battle between President Donald Trump and his former attorney general spilled into Saturday, with Jeff Sessions defending his support among conservatives and the president later calling Sessions “slime.”

    Trump, in his Saturday evening tweet, called on Sessions to drop out of the race for Senate and “pray” that Democratic U.S. Senator Doug Jones loses in November.

    Jeff, you had your chance & you blew it. Recused yourself ON DAY ONE (you never told me of a problem), and ran for the hills. You had no courage, & ruined many lives. The dirty cops, & others, got caught by better & stronger people than you. Hopefully this slime will pay a big…

    “Mr. President, Alabama can and does trust me, as do conservatives across the country,” Sessions wrote. “Perhaps you’ve forgotten. They trusted me when I stepped out and put that trust on the line for you.”

    [email protected]: Mr. President, Alabama can and does trust me, as do conservatives across the country. Perhaps you’ve forgotten. They trusted me when I stepped out and put that trust on the line for you.

    The Saturday morning tweet followed a sharp Friday night tweet directed at Trump in defense of his decision to recuse himself in 2017 from a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into Russia meddling in the 2016 presidential election. It was the first public rebuke Sessions has made toward Trump since re-entering politics in November by announcing plans to run for the Senate.

    .@realdonaldtrump Look, I know your anger, but recusal was required by law. I did my duty & you’re damn fortunate I did. It protected the rule of law & resulted in your exoneration. Your personal feelings don’t dictate who Alabama picks as their senator, the people of Alabama do.

    Sessions, in the Friday night Tweet, told Trump he did his duty and “you’re damn fortunate I did. I protected the rule of law & resulted in your exoneration.”

    Sessions responded after Trump tweeted earlier on Friday his support for former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville, who Sessions faces in July 14 in a Senate runoff election. Sessions and Tuberville are vying for the Republican nomination to a Senate seat the Sessions held for 20 years before he left to become attorney general in 2017. Trump endorsed Tuberville’s candidacy in March.

    Trump said that Sessions “let our country down” by deciding to recuse himself from the investigation. Trump has long been frustrated with his former attorney general over the recusal decision on all things related to the 2016 presidential election. Sessions, early in 2016, was the first sitting Senator to endorse Trump’s presidential candidacy. He recused himself because of his involvement in the campaign and because of conversations he had with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

    “3 years ago, after Jeff Sessions recused himself, the Fraudulent Mueller Scam began,” Trump tweet Friday. “He let our Country down. That’s why I endorsed Coach Tommy Tuberville (@TTuberville), the true supporter of our #MAGA agenda!”

    Tuberville has also pounced. In a Saturday tweet, the former football coach said the only people who seem to agree with Sessions’ position are Democrats.

    @JeffSessions is so desperate, he told @realDonaldTrump to thank him for the immoral & unconscionable Russia investigation! The only people who seem to agree are Democrats. Help me keep him from “helping” President Trump (and the Democrats) again here!

    Democratic Senator Doug Jones also got in on other Twitter action with his campaign urging voters not to make a mistake by supporting either Sessions or “a former football coach.” Jones will face the runoff winner on Nov. 3.

    While these two fight over their big mistakes let’s make sure Alabama doesn’t make one with either Sessions or a former football coach. I could sure use your help folks!

    The back-and-forth weekend explosion between Trump and Sessions is somewhat of a pivot for Sessions who, on Thursday, repeatedly praised the president and his “America First” agenda during a phone call with the Mobile County Republican executive committee. Sessions, during the call, acknowledged he had a “disagreement” with Trump, but added that he had “resisted every effort” to openly criticize the president.

    “I wanted him to be successful,” Sessions said. “I wanted him to be successful and not do one thing that would undermine the effort there.”

    Sessions also juxtaposed his political experience on issues like immigration and trade against Tuberville, a political novice. Tuberville said that voters knew where senators – like Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Josh Hawley of Missouri – stood on issues “before they got into the U.S. Senate.” He said that far too little is known about Tuberville.

    “We do know that Tommy has never endorsed a candidate for public office,” said Sessions. “He never said a kind word bout Donald Trump while I was traveling across the country (with the future president in 2017). I gave my whole year to campaigning for Donald Trump. I believe he would deliver, and he would be a great president and he is.”

    Tommy Tuberville pumps his fist at supporters. Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville meets his supporters at Auburn Oaks Farm around 10 p.m.. He is in a razor close battle with Jeff Sessions and Bradley Byrne. (Joe Songer | [email protected]). Joe Songer | [email protected]

    Tuberville has hammered Sessions over his relationship with Trump, who is popular among Alabama Republicans. A campaign ad released last week showed “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd asking Trump, “If you had one do-over as president, what would it be?”

    The latest rift between Trump and Sessions first began on May 8, when Trump – during an interview on Fox & Friends – claimed that Sessions “begged” him for the job. Trump also said that Sessions performed poorly during his nomination hearings in early 2017, adding “I should have gotten rid of him there.”

    Sessions, in response, wrote an “open letter to Alabama voters” on May 12. In it, he claimed he was one of the “architects” of Trump’s agenda and that his recusal was required by law. He also claimed he didn’t know about what he called former FBI Director James Comey’s “secret investigation” into the 2016 campaign until after becoming attorney general.

    Sessions said he tendered his resignation the “morning after Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel.” Sessions said that Trump chose not to accept it. Sessions’ exit as the nation’s top law enforcement officer occurred on Nov. 7, 2018, and has been described as a “resignation” forced by Trump. Exactly one year later, on Nov. 7, 2019, Sessions entered into the Alabama Senate race.

    Sessions and Tuberville were the top vote-getters during the March 1, primary. Tuberville finished first with 33.39% to Sessions’ 31.65%. U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne of Fairhope, who has not made an endorsement in the runoff, finished third with 24.89%.

    Sessions has since trailed in what little polling has occurred since the primary. Two polls produced by Montgomery-based Cygnal shows Tuberville with a commanding lead. The more recent poll, occurring earlier this month and involving 607 likely Republican voters, showed Tuberville with a 20-percentage point lead over Sessions.

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