Exclusive–Jeff Sessions: New Media Leading Way to Defeat Establishment's Amnesty
Senate Budget Committee ranking member Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) told Breitbart News in a lengthy phone interview on Tuesday that the new media are the backbone of the conservative anti-amnesty movement, and that last week’s unification of the GOP against amnesty wouldn’t have happened without the alternative viewpoint being presented to the public by new media.
And while a lengthy profile from the National Review named Sen. Sessions “The Amnesty Killer”—and detailed how he squandered the amnesty lobby’s hopes this Congress—Sessions isn’t done yet: He’s taking this newly unified Republican Party to march on the gates of the Democratic Senate Majority.
“I don’t have any doubt that the new media organizations shifted the momentum as we were heading into this August recess,” Sessions said. “There’s just no doubt about it. I guess it goes back to the Virginia seat, the influence it had there, then it built in the weeks to come and provided the only real source of consistently good information. The reason I think that the message was so strong in the House in the final hours was because it was based on almost indisputable logic and sound principle.”
“A lawless immigration system cannot be acceptable—and the new media helped drive the message that that’s exactly what we have,” Sessions added. “What we have, in reality, that’s [what] we have today—lawlessness. So, the House could not go home without having spoken on how to make the border lawful and without having addressed the astounding threat by the president that he would unilaterally by executive order legalize as many as five to six million people and give them permission to work.”
“It was just a breathtaking thing. He got away with that the first time with the younger people, and Congress would have been totally neutralized if it didn't stand up to that. Of course, the decisive event was that the new media reported on the encouragement for people to call their congressman. It was a historic, newsworthy thing that hundreds of thousands of people were calling their members of Congress about this—but it was totally ignored by the establishment media,” Sessions added.
The mainstream media hasn’t aggressively reported on immigration at all, Sessions said, and it’s been through talk radio like Mark Levin and Laura Ingraham and online outlets like Breitbart News and the Drudge Report that most of the news of the failures of the Washington establishment’s immigration positions became known to the public. Sessions continued:
The mainstream media is so, for the lack of a better word, politically correct that it almost never challenges conventional political or liberal concepts. So it’s only the American people, once they’re roused, that can break through. So how are they aware of what power they have and how they can direct it? They’re not getting that information from mainstream media. They’re getting it from the new media. So that’s, I think, a significant development. There’s no doubt in my mind that the momentum in the House was to pass a bill that would not be seen as a clear message—fidelity to law and to lawful immigration. The bill that actually passed, I think, is a clear message in that regard. It improved the law at the border substantially, it provided money but only for effective uses, and it stood up to the president and said: ‘We will not allow you to spend any money to further any additional ends to work authorization for millions.’ That was clarified in the last few days resulting in a unified party, as far as I could tell, in the House—instead of a divided and disputed party. Instead of those who care about these issues being mad at Republicans, now they should turn their attention on where are the Democratic representatives and senators? Why aren’t they responding effectively?
Later in the interview, while walking through how Senate Democrats should be forced to take votes either for or against the president’s planned executive amnesty like the House just voted last week, Sessions said Breitbart News has been leading the way in terms of exposing misinformation put forward by pro-amnesty forces. Sessions added:
What Breitbart has done is huge in that regard. There’s nobody who’s been more effective in a timely, daily basis bringing to the attention of people who care issues of importance, breaking news that plays a key role in where we are today. I think there [are] alot of powerful voices that play out there, but I think anybody that’s in the effort was watching what you guys were doing. I think [Breitbart News Executive Chairman] Steve Bannon was determined, it seemed to me from just watching, it seemed Steve Bannon and the Breitbart team understood how the forces were trying to obfuscate and worked hard to clarify them. It got out to a degree a lot of people couldn’t expect—everybody in the fight was looking for good information, and many were putting out good information, but I do think Breitbart was a particularly powerful voice in the debate.
Moving forward, Sessions said that the American people must pressure their members of Congress—especially all their senators—to take a stand on the issue of immigration, including most importantly whether they support President Obama’s efforts to use executive orders to grant amnesty and work authorization to five to six million illegal aliens. Sessions went on to say:
This is a defining issue of our time. History books will write how much power President Obama grabbed and exercised if he’s not stopped and he goes through with this plan. So it’s a matter of constitutional order as well as a matter of important public policy. Just imagine if six million more people are legalized, how will anybody be deported? How will anybody be deterred from coming to the country unlawfully? It will amount to the collapse of law enforcement. I think the Senate has to confront this—and the American people need to know why is it that Harry Reid has been blocking votes. It has nothing to do with time. We spent days negotiating it to try to get a vote when we could have cast 20 votes. The reason is, he does not want his members to have to cast votes because it will expose their position. They’re saying things in their states that are different than what they’re voting for in the Senate—or avoiding voting for.
Sessions said the focus—now that the GOP in both the House and Senate are unified on immigration for the time being—needs to shift to the Democrats and either their willing support of amnesty for illegal aliens via executive order or their decision to stand up against Obama and Reid on the matter. He went on:
The one vote he [Reid] does not want to cast is a vote that said what the House said: ‘Do you support President Obama’s stated intention to grant this unlawful executive amnesty or do you oppose it?’ He is doing everything within his absolute power to block that vote. He is supported by, in this case all Democrats but one—Sen. [Joe] Manchin from West Virginia. But I think what the Republicans have to do and what the candidates have to do is say: if you support Sen. Reid in blocking this vote, then you support Sen. Reid who supports President Obama who intends to carry out this unlawful amnesty. That, properly done with aggressive leadership on our side, will be a decisive issue for the American people I think. Newt Gingrich, today, said it ought to be the number one issue in the campaign this year.
Sessions thinks conservatives can beat Harry Reid, too.
“Yes,” Sessions said when asked if conservatives can emerge victorious over the Senate Majority Leader if they hold together this newly unified GOP opposition to amnesty.
I think the Majority Leader Harry Reid is the palace guard of the Obama agenda. He goes to work every day, blocking anything that exposes what Obama’s doing—particularly this unpopular immigration policy. How does he maintain that power? He maintains that power as a result of every single Democratic senator backing him. At some point, the American people need to know that—they don’t fully understand it right now. This kind of vote, this challenge on the immigration policy, can be the clear simple issue: Do you vote to block the president from doing this? Or do you vote to support him? That’s the only way that vote will be determined, and procedurally it will mean voting against Harry Reid—because he’s wedded to the Obama agenda. They’ve got to break ranks, and they can do that. There’s no reason why a Democratic senator has to vote with Harry Reid on every single vote and support President Obama on every single vote.
Sessions called on this new media army of bloggers and concerned citizens to help launch this fight alongside himand force the Democrats to take a stand in this “time for choosing.”
I think what the new media and bloggers and people who are sophisticated in the issues need to do is to tell the truth about the choice we’re facing. Every Democrat, particularly, is facing a time for choosing. This cannot be avoided between now and the election. The choice is: Do they stand with Harry Reid and the palace guard and protect President Obama’s unlawful plans, or do they support their constituents and vote to keep him from tearing down his agenda on immigration? In the past, they’ve gotten away with saying these are just procedural votes. But they’re not procedural votes—they’re votes to block any legislation from coming to the floor that would alter the president’s plans.
Sessions said that moving forward, the same new media leaders—including ordinary concerned citizens all across the country—are going to lead this new battle against Reid, not anyone from the mainstream media. He continued:
So we can be honest and we can be clear: the choice is clear. The American people need to see where their senators and congressmen stand on the issues. I think we have an opportunity right now, with all of this happening, for the attention of the American people to be focused on this. They need to hold to account, according to our constitutional, Democratic heritage, the people they have elected. And if they are unhappy with them, they need to send them packing. It will not be done by the New York Times. They are not going to clarify this message. For over a decade, they have participated in the obfuscation of the clarity on this issue. As a result, that’s why we’ve maintained a lawless system of immigration that’s an embarrassment to our nation.
Congress has come a long way since November 2012, when the political class deemed Mitt Romney’s loss to President Obama the moment that would spawn an amnesty from Congress, but last week’s House stance was markedly different from the GOP as a whole less than two years ago. In conclusions, Sessions said:
I think believers in a lawful system of immigration and conservative values had a victory in the House this weekend, there’s no doubt about that. Now it’s going to be Sen. Reid’s goal to spin this as a fait accompli, that nothing can be done, and that what the House did can be of no value. Our challenge is to motivate every single American to get on the phone, get on the talk shows, and in a responsible and respectful way demand to know what their congressmen and their senators are going to do about it. Make clear they expect them to take an unequivocal position, that they’re not going to accept some vague expression of unease about President Obama’s planned actions, but to say vote for this. [If they say] ‘We don’t get a vote because Harry Reid is not allowing us to have a vote on this,’ [then ask] ‘Why don’t you vote against Harry Reid? Why don’t you oppose his leadership?’ It’d clarify that issue in an effective way, I think, and I think we can win—and then you have the one thing that politicians fear: That is having your clock cleaned on election day. I think there’s fear out there now, and people realize they’re not going to be able to get away any longer double-timing the American people on the question of immigration.