U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks said Democrats criticizing fellow Alabama Republican and U.S attorney general nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions were lying to advance their political agenda as part of their “war on whites.”
Brooks defended President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for attorney general in an interview Tuesday ahead of Sessions’ Senate confirmation hearing. Sessions has been accused of racism in his past and been condemned by civil rights leaders for his anti-immigration views and disagreement with the Voting Rights Act.
Brooks dismissed Democrats’ objections to Sessions’ nomination as a solely political move.
“It’s really about political power and racial division and what I’ve referred to on occasion as the ‘war on whites,’” Brooks said Tuesday on Alabama radio show “The Morning Show with Toni and Gary.”
“They are trying to motivate the African-American vote ... by using every ‘Republican is a racist’ tool that they can envision, even if they have to lie about it,” he continued.
Three members of the Congressional Black Caucus broke with tradition to testify against a sitting senator during the second day of Sessions’ confirmation hearing.
“Sen. Sessions has not demonstrated a commitment to a central requirement of the job ― to aggressively pursue the congressional mandate of civil rights, equal rights, and justice for all,” Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) said Wednesday. “In fact, at numerous times in his career, he has demonstrated a hostility toward these convictions.”
Sessions’ track record as a public official shows reason for concern. He supported the Supreme Court decision to dismantle part of the Voting Rights Act, key civil rights legislation to protect against voter discrimination. He attempted to prosecute black civil rights activists, including an aide to Martin Luther King Jr., for voter fraud in 1985 as a U.S. attorney. A year later, his nomination for a federal judgeship was rejected over allegations of racist comments in his past.
Sessions said Tuesday that the Voting Rights Act was “intrusive,” that he has no plan to address voter disenfranchisement and that voter ID laws don’t have a racial bias.
“I did not harbor the kind of animosity and race-based discrimination ideas I was accused of,” he said.
Brooks also criticized the Voting Rights Act during his Tuesday interview, saying Democrats “want to deny equal protection to states.”
“Democrats are not shy about lying in order to achieve their political goals,” he said. “And if they have to besmirch the reputation of a good man, Jeff Sessions, in order to achieve their political goals, they as a group are not hesitant to do so.”
Brooks defended his comments to AL.com, saying that federal and state laws supported by Democrats “permit discrimination against Caucasians for no other reason except their skin color,” citing the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program.
He previously claimed Democrats’ “war on whites” was a strategy implemented by President Barack Obama.
“By ... soliciting votes of people based on skin color, they in turn are attacking whites based on skin color and that’s wrong,” he said in 2014.