President Donald Trump said Friday that he will not campaign against former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who announced a bid for his old Senate seat in Alabama.
Asked by reporters if he would campaign against Sessions, Trump replied, “No, I won’t. I’ll see how it all goes, you have some very good candidates.”
The president commented on the Alabama Senate race as he left the White House for a campaign trip to Atlanta.
Former Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville, U.S. Representative Bradley Byrne, and Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill are also running to replace Democrat Senator Doug Jones in the state as well as Judge Roy Moore, the candidate who lost the 2017 race against Jones.
The Club for Growth released a poll showing that Sessions was leading the Republican primary field with 36 percent while Tuberville was at 23 percent.
But Trump indicated he would not get involved.
“We’ll see what happens,” Trump continued. “He’s got tough competition. I mean, you have the football coach, Tommy is doing very well. You have some good people running in Alabama. Let’s see what happens.”
Sessions announced his decision to run again on Thursday, exactly a year after he resigned as Trump’s attorney general.
Sessions spoke about his campaign in an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson after making his campaign official:
When I left President Trump’s Cabinet, did I write a tell-all book? No. Did I go on CNN and attack the president? No. Have I said a cross word about our president? Not one time. I will tell you why. First, that would be dishonorable. I was there to serve his agenda, not mine. Second, the president is doing a great job, for America and Alabama, and he has my strong support.
Trump appeared pleased with Sessions’ comments.
“I saw he said very nice things about me last night. We’ll see,” he said.
Behind the scenes, however, President Trump has expressed annoyance at the idea of Sessions running to recover his Senate seat.
“Who is gonna win Alabama?” Trump asked an Alabama congressman at a recent fundraiser. “Don’t tell me Sessions.”
Despite his loyalty to the president’s agenda on immigration and the rule of law, Sessions infuriated the president for recusing himself in the Russia investigation, prompting the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller to handle the case.
Tuberville is running as an outsider, praising Trump’s assessment of Sessions’ record. He cited President Trump’s criticism of Sessions on Twitter, shortly after the former Attorney General announced his campaign.
Pres. Trump said it best when he called Jeff Sessions “a disaster” as AG and an “embarrassment to AL.” The career politicians have let us down. I’m not looking for a career, I’m running for the Senate to work alongside President Trump to drain the swamp!https://t.co/3SP3C1AlON
— Tommy Tuberville (@TTuberville) November 7, 2019