Mar 4, 2020 - Politics & Policy

"This is what happens": Trump calls out Jeff Sessions as Alabama Senate primary heads to runoff

Photo: Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

President Trump called out former Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a Wednesday tweet as he heads to a runoff election to reclaim his Alabama Senate seat after Super Tuesday's primary.

"This is what happens to someone who loyally gets appointed Attorney General of the United States & then doesn’t have the wisdom or courage to stare down & end the phony Russia Witch Hunt. Recuses himself on FIRST DAY in office, and the Mueller Scam begins!"

Why it matters: Sessions held the seat for nearly two decades and has mentioned his Trump ties during the campaign — though the president has painted a completely different picture on social media.

  • Trump also retweeted an AP story that Sessions' challenger Tommy Tuberville, the former Auburn University football coach, had advanced to the runoff.
  • With over 90% of the vote counted, Sessions, at 31.6%, was set to finish just behind Tuberville's 33.4%.
  • It proves how the president's support can be make-or-break for Republican campaigns across the country — especially in heated primaries.

What's next: Sessions and Tuberville will face off in the runoff on March 31. The winner will challenge Democratic Sen. Doug Jones, considered one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the Senate, in the general election.

Go deeper...Super Tuesday: What you need to know

Go deeper

Jeff Sessions faces runoff in bid to reclaim Alabama Senate seat

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions during a January meeting of local Republicans in Vestavia Hills, Alabama. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions highlighted his history with and loyalty to President Trump in a speech Tuesday night after he was forced into a runoff in his bid to regain his former Alabama Senate seat.

The big picture: Sessions submitted his resignation at Trump's request in November 2018 after their relationship soured during the Mueller investigation. Sessions must overcome Republican rival Tommy Tuberville in the March 31 runoff if he's to challenge Sen. Doug Jones (D) in the election. "Anyone can say they are for the Trump agenda, but talk is cheap," he said in his speech. "I have fought on the great issues of our day, and I have won."

Go deeper: The history of how Trump turned on Sessions

Trump endorses Jeff Sessions' rival for Alabama Senate race

President Trump talks to reporters at the Capitol on Tuesday. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President Trump declared via Twitter Tuesday night that Tommy Tuberville, who is challenging former Attorney General Jeff Sessions for the Republican nomination for the Alabama Senate, has his "Complete and Total Endorsement."

Why it matters: Sessions touted his Trump ties as he was forced into a March 31 runoff in his bid to challenge Sen. Doug Jones (D) in the election and regain his former Senate seat. The president criticized Sessions on Twitter afterward, but he hadn't endorsed Tuberville until now.

Alabama postpones Republican Senate runoff due to coronavirus

Photos: Kirk Irwin/Getty Images; JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

Alabama is postponing its March 31 GOP primary runoff election between former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville, Gov. Kay Ivey announced on Wednesday.

What’s happening: The runoff will now take place on July 14, with the winner taking on incumbent Sen. Doug Jones (D) in November.

Why it matters: The news comes as states scramble to contain the coronavirus during an election season. U.S. officials have warned against gatherings of more than 10 people.

  • Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland and Ohio have also postponed their primaries.