An intriguing thought from a Sessions pal, but … does Brooks realize that this only gives Trump more cover to fire him? If Trump cans the AG and Sessions is left frozen out of government, having given up a safe Senate seat only to be humiliated and fired after six months at the DOJ, populists will be pissed. That may be the single biggest reason why Trump’s held off on terminating him, in fact. If, however, Sessions can be let go and returned to the cozy confines of the Senate, hey. No harm, no foul.
Anyway. This is weird.
I support President Trump’s policies, but this public waterboarding of one of the greatest people Alabama has ever produced is inappropriate and insulting to the people of Alabama who know Jeff Sessions so well and elected him so often by overwhelming margins.
With that said, If President Trump wants a new Attorney General, he has that right. That is why today I am making the people of Alabama a “win-win” promise: a “win” for President Trump and a “win” for Jeff Sessions.
I offer to withdraw completely from the race for Senate if my other GOP opponents in this race will concur on the terms and conditions set forth in the accompanying “Resolution Reinstating Jeff Sessions as United States Senator”.
Trump does support waterboarding. Here’s the resolution Brooks mentions in his statement, which runs through the litany of Trump’s attacks on Sessions and offers a win/win — Brooks and the other nine Republican candidates for Sessions’s seat in Alabama’s special election will agree to withdraw and current interim Sen. Luther Strange will resign if Sessions agrees to accept appointment to the seat and his party’s nomination in the special election. Trump could then be rid of Sessions and Sessions could then be rid of Trump, with the political status quo ante restored. The ballot deadline for him to jump into the GOP primary has already passed so Sessions either needs the Republican field to clear completely, triggering a rule that would let the state party name a nominee, or he’d need to run as an independent in the general election. Brooks is trying to make it easy for him.
I figure there’s an 80 percent chance that Trump will tweet out the resolution tomorrow morning as part of the daily ritual “find another job, Jeff” shaming of Sessions.
What does Brooks gain from this generous offer to fall on his political sword for Sessions? Publicity, mainly, which was also the point of that “Scalise gunshot” ad from a few days ago. He knows the other candidates won’t sign his petition to withdraw; he also knows that sympathy for Sessions’s predicament and annoyance at Trump’s cruelty must be running high in Alabama. By loudly aligning himself with Sessions, he might be able to nudge past Strange for second place in the primary and make the runoff. (A poll published a few weeks ago had Roy Moore ahead with 31 percent but Strange just two points up on Brooks at 23 percent.) Brooks wants to position himself as Sessions’s rightful heir, doing the magnanimous thing by trying to get the AG his old seat back knowing there’s no chance of it happening. And if it doesn’t work and Brooks ends up losing the special election, he’s well positioned to play the long game. The other senator from Alabama, Richard Shelby, is 83 years old. If he retires or passes away, Sessions fans might rally to Brooks to replace Shelby as gratitude for going to bat for Sessions now.
In lieu of an exit question, here’s the closing bit from Brooks’s press release, the pure shamelessness of which made me laugh out loud: “I recognize that President Trump is popular in Alabama. My closest friends and political advisers have told me to not side with Jeff Sessions, that it will cost me politically to do so. My response is simple: I don’t care. If this costs me politically, that’s fine but I am going to the right thing for Alabama and America.” Fancy that, siding with the likable Jeff Sessions in his home state. Not all heroes wear capes, Mo.
Update: I don’t think Strange is taking Brooks up on his offer.
— David M. Drucker (@DavidMDrucker) July 26, 2017
Update: Am I understanding Rush correctly here? Is he actually suggesting that Trump is playing eight-dimensional chess with the media by dogging Sessions so publicly this way? Trump’s attacks on the AG are a political and strategic failure in every way, possibly the biggest blunder of his presidency apart from firing Comey. And if you don’t think there’s a real chance that Trump will end up firing Sessions too, if only to show the critics who say that he doesn’t have the balls to do it that they’re wrong, you’re kidding yourself.