On Monday, Jan. 9, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice publicly endorsed President-elect Donald Trumps choice, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions for U.S. Attorney General.
Rice, who also hails from the state of Alabama, penned a letter of appreciation to Sen. Chuck Grassley about Sessions, describing him as a “friend” and someone who she admired greatly, according to CNN.com.
“He is a man who is committed to justice and knows that law and order are necessary to guarantee freedom and liberty,” Rice wrote in her letter. “I know that Sen. Sessions will uphold the laws of our great country and will work to ensure that every person here in the United States is given the voice that is deserved.”
Rice, who served as the first African-American Secretary of State under former Pres. George W. Bush, proclaimed that Sessions had fought hard to heal the wounds of the Yellowhammer State caused by the “prejudice and injustice against descendants of slaves. She also pointed out how the Alabama senator spurred efforts to award civil rights icon and “personal hero” Rosa Parks with the Congressional Gold Medal in 1999.
However, many would argue that Sessions is someone who has repeatedly perpetuated the prejudice and injustice Rice wrote of in her letter. In fact, the senator once was deemed too racist to serve as a federal U.S. judge due to a series of bigoted remarks he allegedly made in the past.
As Atlanta Black Star previously reported, Sessions was nominated for a judgeship by President Ronald Reagan in 1986 but was ultimately rejected because of his racially offensive comments. He was accused of describing the NAACP, Southern Christian Leadership Conference and other prominent civil rights groups as “un-American” and/or “Communist inspired.”
During the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in 1986, African-American federal prosecutor Thomas H. Figures testified that Sessions had even referred to him as “boy” on one or more occasions. Figures also testified that the senator warned him to be careful of what he said to “white folks.”
Moreover, Sessions allegedly joked that he had no issue with the Ku Klux Klan until he found out they smoked marijuana, and he also reportedly spoke out against the Voting Rights Act.
“I had a number of conversations with him, and in a number of those conversations, he made remarks that were deeply concerning,” said J. Gerald Hebert, who worked alongside Sessions for months in Alabama as he tackled voting rights cases for the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division during the mid-1980s.
Sessions has repeatedly denied the allegations and says he is not a racist. But as CNN.com pointed out, the old racism allegations will likely follow him into the upcoming confirmation hearings to appoint him as U.S. Attorney General.
Rice’s endorsement of the Alabama senator comes almost a week after the NAACP staged a sit-in at his office in Mobile, where they vowed to remain until his nomination for Attorney General was withdrawn. The group of six was ultimately arrested and are now facing second-degree criminal trespassing charges.