So Much For Draining The Swamp

President-­elect Trump’s latest Cabinet pick is a longtime member of the U.S. Senate, and one of the Republican party’s most loyal Trump supporter during the presidential election. Despite a rallying cry to “drain the swamp” of politicians and government insiders, Senator Jeff Sessions (R­AL) is four ­term senator who chairs the Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest, and was on Trump’s shortlist for vice presidential picks.

As a Senator since 1996, Sessions is a divisive figure, praised on one side, heavily criticized on the other. His opposition to immigration reform and proposals to cut mandatory minimum prison sentences garner praise from conservatives, while sparking outrage among minorities, who are racially profiled and subject to more policing, arrests, and deportation. He is fiercely pro-­American, which is a great quality for a Senator, in theory. Sessions’ criticism of organizations like the NAACP and other civil rights groups as “Un­American” served as enough of a red flag in previous years to deny him federal judgeship under Reagan. He has spoken mildly, almost apologetically of the Ku Klux Klan, and advised an African­American prosecutor to “be careful what you say to white folks.”

The list of Sessions’ position on social and economic issues includes: a pro-­life position on abortion and opposition to stem ­cell research, support for the Bush tax cuts of the early 2000s, opponent of same­ sex marriage and Obamacare. His opinion women’s rights and autonomy over their reproductive health can best be summed up by his praise of Phyllis Schlafly, the ERA’s fiercest opponent, upon her passing.

In short, he is spot­ on for a Trump appointment.

His predecessor, Loretta Lynch, has served since 2015, during which there have been several national shootings, from Charleston to Orlando, and multiple deaths and shootings of civilians by police officers.

Given the political climate, and social unrest, a conservative stance on race and immigration could arguably divide an already divided country. The fact that the electoral college and the popular vote are at odds speaks volumes to the lack of unity in our country. In his defense, Sessions is not idle, nor uneducated. Not unlike Trump, Sessions’ donors include real estate and finance corporations. Also not unlike Trump, Sessions voting record favors upholding torture for people in U.S. custody, one of Trump’s talking points on campaign trail.

Trump’s choice, despite Session’s long history in politics and policy, makes perfect sense given his platform on immigration, which largely won him the electoral college. Sessions helped shape Trump’s rhetoric and vision denouncing illegal immigration during the president ­elect’s run for office. A critic of President Obama’s immigration policies, Sessions called out Obama’s Refugee Admissions Program, and even accused Obama of putting the United Nations’ General Assembly and Summit for Refugees and Migrants ahead of the concerns of the United States.

Arguably, this is the most crucial time for a president to work with the United Nations, given the fact that the immigration issue ties directly to the refugee crisis across the globe. While the Attorney General’s position holds sway over the world’s largest law office, the United States, it’s probably time for the president and his Attorney General to broaden the scope of their focus to the entire world.


Disclaimer: This post was written by a Feministing Community user and does not necessarily reflect the views of any Feministing columnist, editor, or executive director.

Tina Rodia is a writer and feminist in Philadelphia. Visit her blog

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