U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) has done his best to rest any notion that he’s a racist and bigot in his Senate confirmation hearings for Attorney General.
“Let me address another issue straight on, I was accused in 1986 of failing to protect the voting rights of African-Americans . . . and of condemning civil rights advocates and organizations and even harboring, amazingly, sympathies for the KKK. These are damnably false charges. I abhor the Klan and what it represents and its hateful ideology,” Sessions said yesterday.
He added, “I deeply understand the history of civil rights and the horrendous impact that relentless and systemic discrimination and the denial of voting rights has had on our African-American brothers and sisters.”
Sessions also said that under his leadership the Department of Justice will, “never falter in its obligation to protect the rights of every American, particularly those who are most vulnerable.’’
Sitting behind Sessions for part of the hearing was Bob Woodson, who I’ve described as a four-star general in the war against poverty. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) considers Woodson his “mentor.” After the 2012 election Ryan toured anti-poverty groups Woodson has helped connect and empower. Ryan’s tour is captured in our Comeback series at OL.
Writing in National Review, Woodson called Sessions a friend of underprivileged minorities:
I have known and worked with Senator Sessions for more than 15 years and know firsthand that his leadership, his compassion, and his actions to uplift “the least among us” far outweigh the weak allegations brought against him.
In an interview with ABC News, Woodson said Sessions was a strong supporter of local poverty groups. Woodson said Sessions has, “demonstrated by his actions that he cares for the least of these.” Woodson, himself a veteran of the civil rights movement, said Sessions critics are “abusing the civil rights legacy” by calling him a racist and said civil rights leaders have a “double standard” by lauding the late Senator Robert Byrd (D-W.V.), a former Klan member, while vilifying Sessions who was never a member of the Klan and has disavowed the Klan.
Woodson said the people who will be testifying against Sessions today are part of the “the race grievance industry” who use race to “bludgeon” ideological opponents.
U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) are among the African-American members of Congress to testify against Sessions during the hearings. Booker’s choice to testify against Sessions has come under criticism, as he is the first sitting Senator to testify against a colleague’s nomination.
Sessions’ hearing continues today.
John Hart is the Editor-in-Chief of Opportunity Lives. You can follow him on Twitter @johnhart333.