WASHINGTON, DC — Former Attorney General Edwin Meese III — perhaps the most revered icon for conservatives from the Reagan administration and one the most consequential attorneys general in American history — is praising Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his work at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). He called the current AG “the most underrated member of the Trump administration.”
Meese’s full-throated endorsement of Sessions was published by USA Today on Tuesday before President Donald Trump delivered his State of the Union address. The two men have known each other for decades, ever since Sessions served as U.S. attorney for Alabama under Meese when the latter led DOJ in the 1980s.
The former attorney general began by noting President Trump’s impressive accomplishments ranging from deregulation to major tax reform to “the appointment of exceptional judges to the federal bench.”
Meese added, “Largely unnoticed has been the extraordinary work that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has done in the Department of Justice to create a Reaganesque resurgence of law and order.”
That is high praise indeed when coming from the living embodiment of the Reagan legacy and the paragon of the constitutional conservatism that President Ronald Reagan elevated as a central pillar of his eight years in office.
Meese noted that Sessions “inherited an agency that had ceded its basic duty to enforce the nation’s law,” citing an array of outrages in the eyes of Republicans, from Operation Fast and Furious to not enforcing federal drug laws to suing states like Arizona when they tried to enforce immigration law.
The longstanding godfather of the conservative movement declared that Sessions has “restored integrity” to his office, discussing the current AG’s accomplishments pertaining to “immigration, violent crime and drug enforcement.”
Meese speaks with unmatched authority as the voice of Reagan Republicanism, having served in top roles for all eight years of the Reagan presidency as part of the commander-in-chief’s innermost circle. He began under Ronald Reagan when the Gipper was governor of California, including as his chief of staff. After leading the 1980 presidential transition team for the nation’s 40th president, Meese served four years in the White House as counselor to the president, also a member of President Reagan’s Cabinet, and a member of the National Security Council. Meese then served as the 75th attorney general of the United States during President Reagan’s second term.
He has continued to play a preeminent role in public affairs for the 30 years since President Reagan left the White House, most recently as a senior adviser to President Trump’s transition team.
Venerated by conservatives for decades, the humble and affable Meese has had more of an impact on shaping the courts than all but a few U.S. presidents have had and is seen as a leading champion for constitutional government and the rule of law. President Reagan once said of his counselor and attorney general, “If Ed Meese is not a good man, then there are no good men.”
Meese’s support for Sessions will be taken as gospel by a supermajority of GOP leaders across the nation, sending a signal to all that the president’s base stands by the current attorney general.
Read the full article in USA Today here.
Ken Klukowski is senior legal editor for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.