Hispanic group opposes Jeff Sessions, black pastors Dean Nelson, Henry Jackson says attacks are ‘baseless’
As President-elect Donald Trump’s official start date nears, the nation appears to be divided over his cabinet picks. As the Senate Judiciary Committee is set to hold a confirmation hearing Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) for U.S. Attorney General, Voto Latino, the leading civic media organization empowering American Latino millennials, spoke against Sessions and black pastors united to support the Senator, calling attacks “baseless.”
Voto Latino released the following statement from president and CEO Maria Teresa Kumar criticizing Sen. Sessions.
“The U.S. Attorney General has the obligation to ensure equal justice for all Americans, making Sen. Sessions record of hostility against the expansion of civil rights protections for women, people of color, LGBTQ people, immigrants, and voters immediate disqualifiers for a nomination, let alone, a confirmation, as our nation’s top law enforcement officer.
“Voto Latino urges the Senate Judiciary Committee to fully vet Sen. Sessions record and stand up for all Americans during his confirmation hearing. The American people expect a fair and just attorney general, and Sen Sessions’ qualifications and past statements are not reflective of these values.
“During his time in public service, Sen. Sessions has been unwilling to protect the laws that serve to safeguard and enhance the wellbeing of vulnerable communities and his confirmation as Attorney General would be detrimental to the advancement of our nation. Sessions was unfit to serve as a federal judge in 1986 and is unfit to serve as attorney general today.”
“Americans are living in a toxic climate where the serious charge of racism is carelessly leveled against anyone with whom the Left disagrees,” the Rev. Dean Nelson, board chairman of the Frederick Douglass Foundation and minister at Salem Baptist Church in Virginia, told the media Monday.
“We are here today to make it perfectly clear that this against Senator Jeff Sessions is baseless and that he is more than qualified to be the next attorney general.”
The New York Times published a piece that pointed to a 30-year-old accusation that Sessions, who was blocked by the Senate in 1986 from being a federal judge, once called an African-American prosecutor “boy” and also once said that he thought the Klu Klux Klan was “O.K. until I found out they smoked pot.”
“We have understood that there is a legitimate dimension of racism that exists in our nation,” Bishop Harry Jackson of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Maryland, said during a press conference at the Cannon House Office Building.
“But there is an attempt by some to demonize people [they disagree with] and call them racists when there is actually no proof for it,” he continued. “So let me say clearly, Sen. Sessions is not a racist.”
“Sessions helped desegregate schools in Alabama. That’s a huge issue,” Jackson explained, adding that as former U.S. attorney for Alabama, Sessions worked with the state to make sure that Klansman Henry Francis Hays would be tried for capital punishment for the lynching 19-year-old African-American Michael Donald.