Quantcast
Connect with us

Former Trump administration official refers to a renowned Black scholar as ‘some criminal’

Published

on

President Donald Trump’s former Attorney General Jeff Sessions referred to renowned Black Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. as “some criminal” in an interview with The New York Times Magazine.

Sessions, one of Trump’s earliest supporters who was later fired after years of attacks from the president, is currently attempting to reclaim his old Senate seat in Alabama. Sessions has desperately tried to tout his Trumpist credentials on the campaign trail, even as the president has waged a campaign aimed at sabotaging his primary bid.

ADVERTISEMENT

Sessions attempted to highlight his support for police in the Trump administration in the interview with The Times by alleging that former President Barack Obama was not on the side of law enforcement. He said his mantra at the Justice Department was “back to the men and women in blue.”

“The police had been demoralized,” he told the outlet. “There was all the Obama — there’s a riot, and he has a beer at the White House with some criminal, to listen to him. Wasn’t having a beer with the police officers. So we said, ‘We’re on your side. We’ve got your back. You got our thanks.'”

The remarks were a muddled reference to the “beer summit” Obama held with Gates and — despite Sessions’ claim that Obama did not have beers with officers — the cop who wrongly arrested him for trying to enter his own home. A spokesman for Sessions “declined to elaborate” on whether he was referring to Gates to The Times.

Far from “some criminal,” Gates is one of the most prominent Black scholars in the nation. He is the director of the Hutchins Center for African and African-American Research at Harvard University. “He was awarded a MacArthur Foundation ‘Genius Grant’ in 1981, was named one of Time magazine’s ’25 Most Influential Americans’ in 1997, has created 15 documentaries based on his scholarship and currently hosts the show ‘Finding Your Roots’ on PBS,” The Harvard Crimson reported.

Gates was wrongly arrested by Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley in 2009 as he tried to enter his residence after police received a 911 call that men were trying to break into the home. Gates had difficulty opening the door and tried to force it open with the help of his driver. Even though it was his own home, Crowley charged Gates with disorderly conduct.

ADVERTISEMENT

The charges were ultimately dropped, but the incident sparked a nationwide outcry over racial profiling. Obama, then in his first year in office, said the police had acted “stupidly.”

“My understanding is that Professor Gates then shows his I.D. to show that this is his house, and at that point, he gets arrested for disorderly conduct, charges which are later dropped,” Obama said at the time. “I don’t know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that [Gates case]. But I think it’s fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home; and, number three, what I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there’s a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. That’s just a fact.”

Obama brought Gates and Crowley to the White House in an effort to calm racial tensions.

ADVERTISEMENT

“President Obama made an innocent comment that the arrest was stupid, which it was,” Gates told The New York Times Magazine earlier this year. “Then all of a sudden all these racists are beating up on him.”

Gates told the outlet that the Cambridge police “insisted” that a second white man be present at the meeting. The role ended up falling to former Vice President Joe Biden.

ADVERTISEMENT

“The Cambridge police had insisted that because there were going to be two Black guys at the table, they wanted two white guys at the table,” he said. “They had sent somebody involved in the Cambridge police structure to be there. As we were walking out to the Rose Garden, somehow that guy got pushed to the side, and Joe Biden jumped in the line. That’s what nobody ever figured out: Why is Biden at the table? He was there to be the second white guy.”

Sessions is running against Trump-endorsed former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville in the state’s July 14 primary runoff to face Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., who defeated alleged serial child predator Roy Moore in a special election in 2017.

The Senate rejected Sessions’ appointment to a federal judgeship in 1986 over numerous allegations of racism during his time as a U.S. attorney in Alabama.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Mr. Sessions has used the awesome powers of his office in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly Black voters. For this reprehensible conduct, he should not be rewarded with a federal judgeship,” Coretta Scott King, the widow of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., said in a letter to the Senate at the time. “The irony of Mr. Sessions’ nomination is that if confirmed, he will be given a life tenure for doing with a federal prosecution what the local sheriffs accomplished twenty years ago with clubs and cattle prods. I believe his confirmation would have a devastating effect on not only the judicial system in Alabama but also on the progress we have made toward fulfilling my husband’s dream.”

Journalist Roland Martin said Sessions’ comment about Gates shows “Coretta Scott King was right.”

“He has no business,” Martin added, “being in the U.S. Senate.”


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

2020 Election

If Trump loses two more states it’s ‘ballgame over’: AP reporter

Published

on

Appearing on MSNBC's " Morning Joe," Associated Press White House correspondent Jonathan Lemire explained Donald Trump's chances of being re-elected have reached the point where, if he loses the electoral votes of one more, he will be out of luck and out of office.

Speaking with co-host Joe Scarborough, Lemire was asked where Trump stands in the battleground states he so desperately needs.

"Both campaigns agree that there are six battleground states to decide this election: Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona, North Carolina, Florida," he began. "Now the president has to play defense and has had to spend resources and had to go the past week to places like Ohio, Texas -- Georgia is another one where he has to play defense. We don't see, outside of perhaps New Hampshire, a place where Democrats have to do the same now that the Trump campaign has ceded Michigan."

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump’s executive orders are confusing and unconstitutional — and likely to hurt his own voters. He doesn’t care.

Published

on

As we went into the weekend, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had washed his hands of the negotiations over the vitally necessary COVID-19 relief package, leaving Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and former Tea Party zealot turned White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to try to hash out a deal. Word was that the Democrats had come down from their demand for $3 trillion in various relief programs to $2 trillion, while the White House stuck to its offer of $1 trillion and not a penny more. By Friday, the Senate was going home and the talks had irretrievably stalled.
Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Trump administration says US would share COVID vaccine with world after America’s needs are met

Published

on

On Monday, Fox News reported that Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is offering to share any potential COVID-19 vaccine with other countries, after it stabilizes public health in the United States.

"The U.S. will share any coronavirus vaccine it develops with the globe after American needs are met, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Monday during a visit to Taiwan," reported Evie Fordham.

"Our first priority of course is to develop and produce enough quantity of safe and effective FDA-approved vaccines and therapeutics for use in the United States," said Azar. "But we anticipate having capacity that, once those needs are satisfied, those products would be available in the world community according to fair and equitable distributions that we would consult in the international community on ... After our departure from the WHO, we will work with others in the world community to find the appropriate vehicles for continuing to support, on a multilateral and bilateral basis, global public health on the order that the United States has done in the past."

Continue Reading
 
 
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image