Donald Trump is not one to forgive a grudge.
When, in one of the few lawful acts ever taken by a member of the Trump administration, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the handling of the investigation of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russian meddling in the 2016 election — an action that eventually led to the appointment of Robert Mueller to lead the team conducting the inquiry — Sessions earned Trump’s eternal ire.
After he was ousted from the White House in favor of William Barr, a man who sees his job as defending Trump against all comers, Sessions set his sights on regaining the Alabama Senate seat he gave up to join the Trump administration, only to have the president endorse Coach Tommy Tuberville for the seat in the Republican primaries. Without a clear winner in the initial primary, that contest is now headed for a runoff election.
Just yesterday, Trump sent out this vicious tweet attacking his former close collaborator and defender:
3 years ago, after Jeff Sessions recused himself, the Fraudulent Mueller Scam began. Alabama, do not trust Jeff Sessions. He let our Country down. That’s why I endorsed Coach Tommy Tuberville (@TTuberville), the true supporter of our #MAGA agenda! https://t.co/pCi7jftce2 https://t.co/sAn1VbxNwc
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 22, 2020
Today Sessions responded with a tweet reminding the president how much of his own reputation he put on the line only to be besmirched by a president he now implies was unworthy of his trust.
.@realDonaldTrump: Mr. President, Alabama can and does trust me, as do conservatives across the country. Perhaps you’ve forgotten. They trusted me when I stepped out and put that trust on the line for you.
— Jeff Sessions (@jeffsessions) May 23, 2020
You wouldn’t expect Donald Trump to not respond to Sessions once the cannons were blasting away on Twitter.
The president declared an all-out Twitter feud with his reply to Sessions’ missive.
….price. You should drop out of the race & pray that super liberal @DougJones, a weak & pathetic puppet for Crazy Nancy Pelosi & Cryin’ Chuck Schumer, gets beaten badly. He voted for impeachment based on “ZERO”. Disgraced Alabama. Coach @TTuberville will be a GREAT Senator!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 23, 2020
Trump’s reply is a risky strategy for the president, given how much insider information Sessions likely has from his days early in the campaign and the beginnings of the administration that he could release publicly or surreptitiously before election day.
With Trump’s approval ratings already plummeting due to his massive failure in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, Sessions will have to calculate whether the Trump supporters in Alabama are disillusioned enough with the president that his next move should be a complete break with Trump and a campaign based on returning the Republican party to normalcy after its decimation by a nasty disease…and by COVID-19 too.
We’ll see if Sessions has the courage to tell the truth about his time working for the president before the Alabama GOP primary runoff election which is currently postponed to July 14th due to the coronavirus pandemic that continues on an upward trajectory in that state.
If not, perhaps the former Senator is thinking he can win on name recognition alone.
In a year in which the Republicans and Trump are both facing uphill battles, perhaps the best course for Sessions’ political future is to lose the runoff and try again someday when the legacy of Donald Trump is just a long-forgotten nightmare.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.