Monday on CNN’s “New Day,” Kellyanne Conway, the campaign manager of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, fielded questions about Sen. Jeff Sessions’ (R-AL) appointment by President-elect Donald Trump to the attorney general post.
Cuomo suggested there could be problems with Sessions’ confirmation. Conway offered a number of reasons for critics not to be concerned about Sessions and despite Cuomo’s protestations insisted much of the pushback is a result of those not willing to accept the presidential election results and are acting as if they are still in campaign mode.
Partial transcript as follows:
CUOMO: Let’s talk about some of these choices – Jeff Sessions as AG. What do you believe or anticipate the problems with confirmation to be because of his history that’s going to be a big concern.
CONWAY: Let’s talk about his history. He was the Attorney General of Alabama. Before that he was the U.S. Attorney. He made sure one of the Klansman’s son who murdered an African-American man got the death penalty.
He pushed for that. It was the first time a white man was given the death penalty for killing an African-American man since 1913. He voted to honor Rosa Parks. He voted to confirm one of his predecessors, former Attorney General Eric Holder, also African-American and President Obama’s pick.
A lot of Democrats are saying now, “I don’t like his politics, so I’m not going to vote for him.” Yet he did. He respected President Obama’s right to appoint Eric Holder. Just happens to be African-America.
CUOMO: You’re leaving some facts out thought, right.
CONWAY: No, no.
CUOMO: He got denied a judgeship in 1986. Was there a reason for that?
CONWAY: Yes. People like Arlen Specter who denied later said I shouldn’t have denied it and said I served with him and found for him to be egalitarian.
CUOMO: Wouldn’t it be easier for him to come out and say, this stuff about me about joking about the KKK —
CONWAY: He has said that.
CUOMO: — that’s nonsense. I believe the NAACP is a good organization. I believe the Voting Rights Act is an important law as the attorney general to enforce —
CONWAY: He voted got all types of civil rights extensions.
CUOMO: He has been actively against that act for a long time.
CONWAY: You have to look at the full measure of the man. And I know people who don’t want to respect the election results whoever they are out there —
CUOMO: I think that’s an excuse, Kellyanne.
CONWAY: — are still in campaign mode. They’re still in campaign mode.
CUOMO: Attorney general, your choice, he’s actively against the vote.
CONWAY: Why didn’t Democrats put anybody up against him last time he ran in 2014?
CUOMO: In Alabama?
If you’re against him, be the sacrificial lamb. Say I’m going to stop this guy because of who he is. They couldn’t do it because hey’re looking at the full record. He’s been the United States senator for 20 years He was a law enforcement officer before that. He is incredibly qualified. Look, the criteria for any of these posts, Chris — number one, are you qualified and capable of doing the job on day one? Secondly, are you loyal to the agenda that the president-elect has put forward as his vision? And he has a right to go ahead and implement that with the advisers that he surrounds himself with. That’s what confirmation hearings are for. And I would hope someone would extend senatorial courtesy to someone they worked with and who they know in fullness. There are some pundits out there saying his name should be rescinded because they have no place in saying —
CUOMO: That’s an opinion. I’m just asking about the facts of their service.
CONWAY: I’m giving you many of them.
CUOMO: I’m happy to put them right where you are, anytime he wants.
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor