When the Senate takes up Jeff Sessions’ nomination to be attorney general in January, allegations of racism are his biggest liability. He and his allies have mounted an aggressive public relations campaign to refashion Sessions’ image. Sessions took a trip to South Carolina last week at the behest of the Senate’s only black Republican. His allies describe how he locked arms with Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) to mark the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Selma, Al. Sessions (R-AL), in a nominee questionnaire, practically depicts himself as a civil rights hero, Politico reports.
The message: The charges that sank Sessions’ bid to become a federal judge in 1986 don’t represent who Sessions is now, or even who he was at the time. Delivering it is a lineup of prominent black leaders and others with personal ties to Sessions enlisted by Trump’s transition team. Liberal groups are unmoved. Alarmed by a weak legislative record on voting issues, gay rights, and immigration policy, Sessions’ opponents are trying to litigate a broader case against him rather than focus solely on the racism questions. “Yes, it happened a long time ago. It’s certainly not irrelevant and it has to be raised,” said Christopher Kang, a former deputy counsel to President Obama who now runs the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans. But “it has to be examined in the context of his entire career.” Democrats are powerless to stop Sessions assuming no Republicans vote against him.