Sep 24, 2017

Scoop: Jeff Sessions' culture war

Sessions at a Trump rally in December. Photo: Brynn Anderson / AP

Trump isn't the only member of his administration fighting a culture war this week; his Attorney General Jeff Sessions will make a "free speech on campus address" on Tuesday at Georgetown University law school in D.C. It's going to get testy.

A source close to Sessions tells me the AG will tell the students:

"Whereas the American university was once the center of academic freedom — a place of robust debate, a forum for the competition of ideas — it is transforming into an echo chamber of political correctness and homogenous thought, a shelter for fragile egos."

  • Why this matters: In this hyper-tense political climate, Sessions' speech could be explosive. The Attorney General is already a lightning rod for progressive protests. As AG, he's led some of the most controversial aspects of the president's agenda, including his toughening of sentencing for drug offenders, his crackdown on sanctuary cities, and his announcement that the Trump administration plans to end DACA, the Obama era program that temporarily shields from deportation more than 700,000 illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. Tuesday's speech shows how eager he is to embrace this role.
  • What Sessions is thinking: A source close to the AG says Sessions has been discussing making a speech like this for several months. "If you look at what he's focused on as Attorney General, whether it's violent crime, opioids, or sanctuary cities, the common thread is the rule of law," the source said. "When it comes to something as important as the First Amendment, he's going to speak out."
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