NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 16: Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions arrives at Trump Tower on November 16, 2016 in New York City.
NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 16: Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions arrives at Trump Tower on November 16, 2016 in New York City. Kevin Hagen/Getty Images

President-elect Donald Trump has tapped Jeff Sessions,  an Alabama Senator with a questionably racist past, to be attorney general under his administration.

Sessions met with Trump on Wednesday, and shortly after the meeting, the Trump transition team issued a statement saying, “The President-elect has been unbelievably impressed with Senator Sessions and his phenomenal record as Alabama’s Attorney General and U.S. Attorney. It is no wonder the people of Alabama re-elected him without opposition.”

With the announcement that he had been selected as Trump’s choice for attorney general came concerns about allegations of racism in his past, and many have been left to wonder, who is Jeff Sessions?

  1. According to a report by CBS News, Sessions has been one of Trump’s closest allies and was the first senator to announce his support for a Trump presidency. Sessions was previously considered for the position of secretary of defense, and is an architect of Trump’s immigration, counter-terrorism and trade policies.
  2. Jeff Sessions is a Republican US Senator for the state of Alabama, and he has served in that position since 1997. In that time, he has served on the Senate Budget Committee, the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Senate Armed Forces Committee, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
  3. Sessions was born in Selma, Al., and grew up in Hybart. He received a Bachelor of Arts from Huntingdon College, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Alabama.
  4. He served in the US Army Reserve from 1973 to 1986, attaining the rank of Captain.
  5. He practiced law for a short time before spending two years as Assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama.
  6. In 1981, he was nominated by President Ronald Reagan and confirmed by the US Senate to serve as the US Attorney for Alabama’s Southern District. He remained in that position for 12 years.
  7. In 1986, Ronald Reagan nominated him to be a judge for the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Alabama. He was not confirmed by the Senate as there were concerns about past comments he had allegedly made about desegregation and civil rights groups. Then Senator Joe Biden urged Reagan to withdraw Sessions from consideration after a former deputy of Sessions testified that Sessions had once warned him to be careful about what he said  “to white folks,” and confirmed allegations that Sessions had called the NAACP “un-American.”
  8. That same deputy, Thomas Figures,  said that Sessions had called him “boy” on more than one occasion and had said that he thought the Ku Klux Klan was “okay until he learned that they smoked marijuana.”
  9. In 1995, he was elected as Alabama’s Attorney General, and he left that post in 1997 to join the Senate.
  10. According to the Washington Post, Sessions advised Trump on who to choose for Vice President, and was also in the running himself for the position.
  11. The Post says that Sessions is “amnesty’s worst enemy” as he has fought legal immigration, and has opposed nearly every immigration bill that has come before the Senate in the past two decades.

In the Senate, Sessions has fought hard on issues pertaining to the budget as well as our military. He authored legislation that increased the amount of money the family of a fallen soldier receives, and he is described as a “budget hawk” by his peers.

None of those things concern the general public as much as a man who has openly made racist comments and said another attorney was “a discredit to his race” for fighting for voting rights. Calling a grown man “boy” and telling him he should watch how he speaks “to white folks” is telling of a person who is undeniably influenced by the Jim Crow south he grew up in. A person like this cannot be trusted to make impartial decisions.

Jeff Sessions has claimed that he is not a racist.

“I am not the Jeff Sessions my detractors have tried to create,” he said during the 1986 committee hearings. “I am not a racist. I am not insensitive to blacks. I have supported civil rights activities in my state. I have done my job with integrity, equality and fairness for all.”

Hopefully the Senate Judiciary Committee will do its job and not make the American people learn of his racism through his actions as attorney general.