President Trump has endorsed former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville for U.S. Senate in Alabama, in a blow to his former attorney general, Jeff Sessions, who is also running for the seat. The race for Sessions' former Senate seat, currently held by Democrat Doug Jones, became a two-man race last week when the Republican primary resulted in a runoff between Tuberville and Sessions.
Sessions was the first senator to endorse Mr. Trump, and in 2017, he gave up his seat to become the president's first attorney general. Now, he's being hit with the full force of the president's Twitter account in his battle to reclaim that seat. Mr. Trump tweeted his endorsement of Tuberville Tuesday, while results were coming in from the Democratic presidential primaries.
"Tommy Tuberville (@TTuberville) is running for the U.S. Senate from the Great State of Alabama," the president tweeted Tuesday night. "Tommy was a terrific head football coach at Auburn University. He is a REAL LEADER who will never let MAGA/KAG, or our Country, down! Tommy will protect your Second Amendment..(which is under siege), is strong on Crime and the Border, and truly LOVES our Military and our Vets. He will be a great Senator for the people of Alabama. Coach Tommy Tuberville, a winner, has my Complete and Total Endorsement. I love Alabama!"
Mr. Trump openly regretted his choice for attorney general after Sessions recused himself from the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Mr. Trump had largely stayed out of the race until last week. After the Alabama Republican primary went into a runoff between Tuberville and Sessions, the president blasted Sessions for failing to end the "phony Russia Witch Hunt."
Sessions, who served as attorney general until after the 2018 midterm elections, was often berated by Mr. Trump publicly for his recusal, an action which resulted in the appointment of former special counsel Robert Mueller. But Sessions continues to voice his support for Mr. Trump, touting his relationship with the president frequently as he campaigns.
He reacted to the president's move in two tweets around midnight, saying, "Of course, President Trump can endorse anyone he chooses for the U.S. Senate election in Alabama. But the Constitution expressly empowers the people of Alabama, and only them, to select their Senator. I intend to take my case directly to the people of Alabama.
"Even before he declared for the presidency, I fought for the principles that Donald Trump so effectively advocated in the campaign and has advanced as President. I believed in those principles then, I have always fought for them, and I will continue to do so."
The runoff election will take place March 31.
First published on March 10, 2020 / 11:10 PM
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