On Wednesday, the confirmation hearing for Senator Jeff Sessions (selected by President-elect Trump to be his attorney general) stretched into its second day. During the final hours, representatives John Lewis (D-GA) and Cedric Richmond (D-LA) joined Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) in painting Sessions as a racist.
They challenged Sessions’s ability to apply justice with fairness and equality. Representative Lewis barely even mentioned Sessions at all, spending the majority of his seven minutes speaking instead about the Civil Rights movement.
Richmond suggested that scheduling members of the Congressional Black Caucus to testify near the end of the hearing was akin to forcing them to “sit at the back of the bus.”
But Senator Booker was the real newsmaker, breaking with tradition to become the first sitting senator to testify against a member of his own body. He accused Sessions of not being prepared to show love for “all citizens”:
“The arc of the moral universe does not just naturally curve towards justice. We must bend it.
If one is to be attorney general, they must be willing to continue the hallowed tradition in our country of fighting for justice for all, for equal justice, for civil rights. America needs an attorney general who is resolute and determined to bend the arch. Sen. Sessions’ record does not speak to that desire, intention, or will.”
But then Dan Scavino, the president-elect’s social media manager, posted a video of Senator Booker saying some very different things about Senator Sessions:
"I feel blessed & honored to have partnered w/ Senator Sessions in being the senate sponsors in this important award."
Senator Cory Booker pic.twitter.com/VPVPfQRqjx
— Dan Scavino Jr. (@DanScavino) January 10, 2017
Booker partnered with Sessions in February of 2016 to sponsor the awarding of the Congressional Gold Medal, which they presented to the Civil Rights icons who marched from Selma to Montgomery in 1965 for voting rights.
Booker had nothing but praise for Senator Sessions that day, calling their joint presentation of the award “one of my life’s greatest moments.”
In addition to being called out for his apparent flip-flop, Booker’s testimony found some critics on the morning news shows. On Thursday’s “The Morning Joe,” Joe Scarborough called Booker’s remarks “calculated,” and suggested they were designed to position him for a possible presidential run in 2020.