The vote comes after a stunning series of events for President Donald Trump’s cabinet picks
On Wednesday evening, Senator Jeff Sessions was confirmed as the newest Attorney General of the United States.
The vote comes after a stunning series of events for President Donald Trump’s cabinet picks, including the historic vote for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, whose confirmation was made official after Vice President Mike Pence cast a tie-breaking vote. Sessions’ confirmation was preceded by a public dispute involving Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who attempted to read aloud a 1986 letter penned by Corretta Scott King in opposition of Sessions.
[quote position="right" is_quote="true"]We sure as hell need to make it clear to the Republicans and to the American people exactly who Donald Trump is putting in charge of our government.[/quote]
“We may not have the votes to stop him," Warren told CNN following her reading of the letter, "but we sure as hell need to make it clear to the Republicans and to the American people exactly who Donald Trump is putting in charge of our government."
Much of the protest against Sessions has revolved around accusations that he is a racist. As the New Republic reported in 2002:
“Senate Democrats tracked down a career Justice Department employee named J. Gerald Hebert, who testified, albeit reluctantly, that in a conversation between the two men Sessions had labeled the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) ‘un-American’ and ‘Communist-inspired.’ Hebert said Sessions had claimed these groups ‘forced civil rights down the throats of people.’
Democrats managed to delay the votes for DeVos and Sessions using by filibustering and insisting on further review. As CNN additionally reported, Democrats plan to employ similar tactics with Health and Human Services Secretary nominee Tom Price—and potentially for Treasury pick Steven Mnuchin into the weekend.
Senate Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer noted that while these attempts have not yet prevented any confirmations, they have done a lot to fire up Democrats and their constituents. "When you get millions of calls and demonstrations and a nominee is exposed for being who they are, it's going to have a profound and positive effect, even if she gains office. So we're very happy with the results and we're going to continue them," he said.
West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin was the only Democrat to cross party lines and cast his vote in favor of Sessions.
Most Republicans, however, remained steadfast in their support for Sessions, despite Democrats best efforts. Senator Dan Sullivan, an Alaska Republican, told The New York Times prior to Sessions’ confirmation, “Everybody in this body knows Senator Sessions well, knows that he is a man of integrity, a man of principle.”