In a Fox News Sunday appearance, Sen. Jeff Sessions beat back all the criticism leveled against Donald Trump by corporate media in recent days. Sessions also issued a clear warning to Republican leaders like House Speaker Paul Ryan, whose recent statements about Trump seem designed to undermine Republicans’ chance of electoral success against Hillary Clinton.
Wallace asked Sessions about the “state of relations between Trump and his own party GOP leaders,” citing Ryan and Mitch McConnell’s recent efforts to distance themselves from the standard-bearer selected by Republican voters.
Well, I think we’re going to get unity … But let me give advice to my Republican colleagues: They need to look at the election returns. They need to understand that the American people are not happy with gridlock in America. They’re not happy their wages have fallen since 2000 steadily. They’re not happy that we have high unemployment. They’re not happy that we have an open border and lawlessness at our border. They believe we should have a lawful system of immigration that serves their interests. They don’t believe these trade deals have worked [for] them. So I think that our leaders on both sides need to be considering what the American people are saying in this election, and they need to be a part of the unity too … meaning they need to be participating in fixing some of these things. We haven’t been effective in fixing illegal immigration, the trade deal got a lot of votes and support in Congress from Democrats and Republicans. So I think there’s a lot of things that we need to learn from the American people.
Indeed, far from championing the immigration policies the Republican voters desire, Paul Ryan has pushed the exact opposite. At a time when, according to Pew, 92 percent of GOP voters would like to see immigration levels frozen or reduced, Paul Ryan’s omnibus spending bill expanded immigration into the United States.
Ryan has a two-decade long history of pushing open borders immigration policies opposed by the American electorate. He also served as Obama’s “partner” in pushing to fast track the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. According to Pew, only a minuscule 11 percent of GOP voters believe that these so-called “free trade” deals raise wages.
During the interview, Wallace ran through a litany of attacks leveled against Trump by corporate media in recent days — all of which Sessions easily answered and dismissed.
Wallace asked Sessions about Trump’s criticism of President Obama’s handling of the threat of radical Islamic terrorism, which the mainstream media has sought to spin as a bizarre conspiracy theory.
Trump said, “We are led by a man that either is not tough, not smart, or he’s got something else in mind.”
Sessions suggested that the “something else” could likely refer to Obama’s political calculations to quell his own base at that time, such as his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq. Sessions said: “I don’t know what he [Trump] is referring to there, but I do believe he is correct to raise the question that the policies of this administration — from going back to 2011 when we withdrew all our troops from Iraq and allowed ISIS to form and become an entity, it probably would never have happened otherwise.”
Wallace, echoing the media’s conspiracy theory narrative, said that Trump’s statement “certainly seems to imply that somehow he [Obama] is sympathetic to radical Islam.”
Sessions dismissed this media narrative offhand:
No … I think he’s criticizing him, President Obama, for going too far — for not understanding the threat. The President and Hillary Clinton now says she wants to go from 10,000 Syrian refugees to 65,000 Syrian refugees. When Mr. Brennan, CIA director, says we can’t do vetting on that … we can’t vet these people because we don’t have any background on them. There’s no way to go into their communities and check their records, their arrest records, or their business records. All you have is what they tell you. And we know, as CIA director said, refugees provide an opportunity to enter the United States and create attacks.
Wallace asked Sessions about the fact that Trump “said that President Obama should resign and Hillary Clinton should drop out of the race because of their refusal or failure to say the phrase ‘radical Islam.’”
Wallace asked Sessions whether he would “agree with the President that even if you say the name, that the real key is what’s the plan, what’s your strategy to defeat ISIS.” Sessions said:
I don’t understand the President’s view on this at all … It’s totally inexplicable. And when Donald Trump went directly at Hillary Clinton on this, for the first time she said the words “Islamic extremism” or something to that effect. Because she has been taking an indefensible position. Of course, that’s what it is. Of course, this is what the threat is. And it’s out there. It’s growing. And the CIA director indicated it looks like it will continue to grow even though we can have some battlefield victories against ISIS. The threat is still expanding.
Wallace asked Sessions about recent poll numbers, citing the Real Clear Politics average poll that shows Trump down by six points.
“Hasn’t Trump squandered the last few weeks?” Wallace asked. Sessions said:
I don’t think he’s squandered it, but it’s been a difficult time. And the people want to vote for him. He’s correct on the issues. And I think tone can improve over time. But I would just say, I remember former President Bush senior was down fifteen points at the time of the convention in August and then won with a huge victory. So I just think this is premature. But I would just say to you the issues are what’s going to work for Donald Trump: trade, immigration, wages, jobs, gridlock in Washington. He’s going to break that up and move us in the right direction. And I believe the numbers are going to move his way steadily as these issues are joined in the fall.
Wallace concluded by asking about the recent media narrative that “some delegates to the Republican convention are now talking about trying to change the rules in Cleveland to make it that no delegates are legally bound and that they could nominate someone other than Donald Trump. How seriously do you take that?”
Sessions said: “I don’t take it seriously at all. I hear somebody say it’s as many as thirty [delegates] — well, there are two thousand four hundred delegates. Trump has swept this election. He had the biggest number of votes ever in a Republican primary. He drew in more votes than the Democrats. The Republican primary got two million more votes than the Democrats. He drew independents. He drew Democrats into the Republican primary. That’s a historic thing.”