Just two days before Donald Trump reportedly asked Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions to take the post of Attorney General in the fast approaching Trump Administration, Roll Call's Jonathan Allen wrote an opinion piece explaining why Senator Sessions was “unfit” for federal office.
Allen cited several debunked allegations of racial insensitivity — an admittedly ill-timed joke when Sessions reportedly said that he “thought the KKK was OK until he found out that they were smoking pot” among them.
In addition, Allen cited a recent endorsement Sessions received — from the white nationalist website Stormfront — to further foment the outrage that was stirred when Steve Bannon, who has also been linked to white nationalism, was given a position on Trump's team.
But Tucker Carlson wasn't taking anything on “say-so,” and when he invited the journalist to his Fox News show, he forced Allen to defend the statements he had written just a few days earlier:
“This has to be one of the most unfair things I think I’ve ever read. I mean, it’s almost like a pure download from the DNC website.”
Allen argued, calling Sessions “fringe” for his opinions on immigration and same sex marriage — but Carlson pointed out that, since large parts of the country share Sessions's views, he wasn't actually that fringe at all.
Carlson also took Allen to task about his comments regarding the Stormfront “connection”:
“Is there any evidence he’s had contact with Stormfront? Has he endorsed Stormfront? Or are you just smearing him on the basis of their endorsement of him? If someone you don't like says something nice about you, that means you're tainted?”
Jonathan Allen admitted that he did not mean to say that Sessions was a member of Stormfront, but he quickly noted that the Alabama senator also “had not disavowed” its endorsement.
Carlson then called Allen out on his attempt to imply that Sessions might do something completely outrageous — like resegregate the military. Allen wrote:
“Surely, Sessions wouldn’t try to resegregate American armed forces, in which he served, but his ascent to the top civilian defense job would send a terrible message to people of color who wish to protect their country.”
Tucker Carlson responded:
“Jonathan Allen, surely you wouldn't batter a child.”
The irony of Allen's statement can only be fully realized with a look at Senator Sessions's record. As a U.S. Attorney in Alabama, Sessions filed several of the cases that were instrumental in desegregating the schools.
In addition, once elected Attorney General of Alabama, Sessions insisted on the death penalty in a case involving the KKK and the random abduction and murder of a black teen. The $7 million civil judgment he ordered effectively splintered the Klan in his state.
Aside from vague generalities, Allen had a difficult time responding to Carlson's relentless questions. Carlson ended the exchange by assessing the situation succinctly: “You’re carrying water for the Democratic party, and you’re smearing this guy without engaging his ideas."
The full exchange can be viewed, below: