Tucker Carlson Defies Trump on Sessions — Favors Former AG Over POTUS-Endorsed Candidate

Fox News host Tucker Carlson broke with Donald Trump on the Alabama Senate race, praising candidate Jeff Sessions as one “of the very few politicians I respect.”

The video: Sessions appeared on "Tucker Carlson Tonight" last week to discuss the uphill battle against his GOP primary opponent, former college football coach Tommy Tuberville, who has Trump's coveted endorsement in the race. 
Carlson talked up Sessions for his record on an “America First” issue set – support for law and order, strict immigration enforcement and a opposition to “pointless” wars – and said Tuberville is “not as conservative.”
  • “It just seems like if we say we believe these things, then we should support politicians, the very rare politicians who stand up for them and you are one of those,” Carlson said.
  • It’s not the first time the top-rated news host has boosted Sessions' Senate bid – the ex-Trump attorney general appeared on the show in November to announce the launch of his campaign. 
The race: A University of Auburn poll released on Thursday, two days after Sessions' appearance with Tucker, showed Tuberville leading by 16 points ahead of Tuesday’s Republican primary runoff in Alabama.
  • Sessions is running to take back the Senate seat he held for four consecutive terms before he gave it up for what he described as his "dream job" in the Trump administration.
  • Trump fired Sessions immediately after the mid-term elections in November 2018. 
The president has repeatedly attacked Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia investigation in 2017 and said that is why he is urging voters to vote for Tuberville instead. 
  • In a recent Twitter spat with Sessions, Trump called him a “disaster” as attorney general.
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 Sessions, meanwhile, has attempted to persuade Alabamans that he, not Tuberville, is the candidate who will stay true to the agenda that helped Trump get elected in 2016.
  • "Tommy Tuberville, at age 65, Tucker, had never given any contribution to any candidate. He never even said he was a Republican. We don't know this man. He is a empty suit, a nubbin ... He doesn't have the convictions and the courage to represent us,” Sessions told Carlson.

The reaction: Some prominent Trump supporters, especially those associated with the right’s America First faction, have endorsed Sessions.

Former Republican congressman Jim DeMint, who was once described in Salon as “perhaps the most conservative member of the Senate,” joined Carlson in calling for Sessions’ election to Congress. Twitter pundit Bill Mitchell, who rarely falls out of lockstep with the president. Activist Michelle Malkin has also campaigned for Sessions, praising his “stalwart America First” record in an April interview and saying that “he is not beholden to special interests of any kind.”

Still, a significant mass of Trump supporters have not forgiven Sessions for his recusal, which they perceive as a betrayal. Zoom out: The right’s internal debate over Sessions highlights a split in the Trump-era GOP between hardliners who sometimes grumble that the president has failed to live up to his campaign promises and loyalists who argue that Trump’s instincts should be given a long leash. Some in the former camp have criticized Trump’s appearance on Friday on Telemundo, during which he said DACA recipients would be given a “road to citizenship” as part of an upcoming executive order on immigration.
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