Attorney General Jeff “Beleaguered Beauregard” Sessions has been tarred all week by President Trump, who remains furious that Sessions recused himself in the Russia election-interference investigation back in March. Trump has pelted Sessions with verbal buckshot on Twitter day after day, assailing him for failing to go after Hillary Clinton aggressively enough; for not purging the acting head of the FBI; for being “very weak.” The insults haven’t been limited to the virtual. Trump has said he was “disappointed” with Sessions at a news conference; he has rolled his eyes when asked whether Sessions should resign, and more. Trump has done all this undermining of Sessions for one purpose: to get him to quit so Trump can find a way to fire Robert Mueller and stamp out the Russia investigation once and for all. (Trump doesn’t want to actually do the deed himself because he is scared of firing people, and maybe, just maybe, because he realizes it would be politically catastrophic.)
On Thursday, Sessions told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson that Trump’s criticism was “kind of hurtful,” but maintained that the president is a “strong leader” who is “steadfastly determined to get his job done, and he wants all of us to do our jobs and that’s what I intend to do.”
And in an interview with the AP, Sessions said, understatedly, that it had not been the “best week” between him and Trump, but that they share a “harmony of values and beliefs.”
That harmony, which mostly consists of a regressive view of crime, punishment, and civil rights, has certainly been on display during Session’s tenure at the Justice Department so far. He has taken steps to crack down on “sanctuary cities,” promised a crackdown on marijuana, and, most recently, taken a strong stand against protecting gay people from bias in the workplace.
That harmony is also the key reason that, despite the barrage of incoming fire from Trump, there’s been no indication that Sessions is even thinking of stepping down. Unlike Reince Priebus, whose humiliation has been unmarked by any corresponding sense of goodwill from defenders, Sessions has the support of a squad of influential backers, including a good portion of his former Senate colleagues and scorched-earth conservatives like Ann Coulter and the news outlet Breitbart. Not only are lawmakers defending his personal honor, they’re taking considerable legislative steps to prevent his possible firing.
So, for now, Sessions is probably fine to wait things out, oppress some more minorities, and fully enjoy the latest in White House internecine drama: the Anthony Scaramucci meltdown.