Things got much worse for Sessions hours later, though, when Trump retweeted a message from Politico highlighting how Sessions “finished well short of a majority.” Trump told his followers, “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,” and added, “Recuses himself on FIRST DAY in office, and the Mueller Scam begins!”
That Trump attack may be giving Sessions some very nasty déjà vu. While Sessions was rewarded for his early support for Trump by being named U.S. attorney general, their relationship quickly sourced after he recused himself from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Trump spent 2017 and 2018 tweeting his fury about his “beleaguered” attorney general, and he fired him right after the midterm elections.
Trump continued to trash Sessions the following year both publicly and privately, but Sessions decided to risk White House opposition and run for his old Senate seat. Sessions’ allies, including Sen. Richard Shelby, tried to convince Trump to at least stay neutral in the primary, and until Wednesday, they’d succeeded. Sessions even tried to portray himself as the Trump ally in the race by running ads that highlighted their once close relationship and avoided mentioning their subsequent falling out. It’s going to be a lot tougher for Sessions to run this campaign over the next month, though, now that Trump is once again trashing him.
Unfortunately for Sessions, he doesn’t need to look far to see the power a Trump tweet has in GOP politics. One of the other candidates on Tuesday’s primary ballot was Roy Moore, the former chief justice of the state Supreme Court who lost this seat to Jones in 2017's infamous special election. Early polls found that Moore at least had a good chance to reach a runoff, and national GOP groups made it clear that they’d take action to make sure that he couldn’t win another primary.
That turned out to be unnecessary, though. Trump told his followers in May that, while he had “NOTHING against Roy Moore,” whom multiple women have said preyed on them when they were teenagers, Moore “cannot win!” Moore ended up barely being a factor in this race, and he took a weak fourth on Tuesday with just 7% of the vote.
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