Two New York Times reporters had a fascinating discussion of President Donald Trump’s “public shaming” campaign against his Attorney General.
Times’ reporter turned podcast host Michael Barbaro interviewed Jeremy W. Peters, who covers politics for The New York Times and is a political analyst for MSNBC. The topic of “The Daily” episode was President Trump’s “accelerating critique” of his own Attorney General.
“It’s unfolding in real-time, it’s like a window into Trump’s frustrations with Jeff Sessions through his Twitter feed,” Peters explained.
“It’s like this ongoing cyber-bully campaign to drive his Attorney General from office,” Peters suggested. “At first, he called him ‘beleaguered’ which, of course, paled in comparison to what he called him at six AM on Tuesday morning, ‘weak’ – saying that Jeff Sessions was not forcefully going after Hillary Clinton, as if what the Justice Department needed to be focusing on at this was investigating his chief political opponent.”
“So Jeremy, why, as best we can tell, is the President doing what he’s doing to Jeff Sessions so publicly – essentially shaming his Attorney General for millions upon millions of people to see?” Barbaro asked.
“Because he wants him to quit, I think it’s as simple as that,” Peters immediately replied. “He’s trying to drive him out of office because he knows – he understands – that it would look terrible for him to fire an Attorney General who essentially did the right thing.”
“Let’s not lose sight of that, Jeff Sessions did the legally proper thing by recusing himself from this investigation,” Peters added. “Most Republicans, almost every single one of them, thinks that Jeff Sessions did the right thing by recusing himself from this investigation, even though that has infuriated Donald Trump.”
Jeff Sessions was the only Senator to endorse Trump during the Republican primaries, but this infighting is further complicated by the similarity of their politics.
“Before Donald Trump burst onto the political scene with this conservative, nationalistic, America First vision, Jeff Sessions was that voice in the Senate,” Peters explained. “So the two of them kind of had an early mind-meld, and Sessions became, along with people we now know almost as household names – Steven Bannon and Steven Miller (who worked as Jeff Sessions communications director in the Senate) – the three of them worked with Trump to help form the architecture of the nationalist, populist, conservative world view.”
“It sounds like what you’re saying is that Sessions provided kind of the brain trust to Trump the candidate and now the White House,” Barbaro interjected.
“That’s exactly right,” Peters agreed. “And somebody who also was one of the first to stick his neck out for President Trump, at a time when doing so was far from politically fashionable.”
LISTEN: NYT reporter describes Trump’s ‘ongoing cyberbullying campaign to drive his Attorney General from office’
— Jeremy W. Peters (@jwpetersNYT) July 26, 2017