Americans are living in a toxic climate where the serious charge of racism is carelessly leveled against anyone with whom the Left disagrees,” the Rev. Dean Nelson, board chairman of the Frederick Douglass Foundation and minister at Salem Baptist Church in Virginia, told the media Monday. “We are here today to make it perfectly clear that this against Senator Jeff Sessions is baseless and that he is more than qualified to be the next attorney general.”
Some in the mainstream media have been accused of trying to paint Sessions as a racist, even before the announcement of 70-year-old Sessions as Trump’s attorney general pick.
In November, the New York Times published a piece that pointed to a 30-year-old accusation that Sessions, who was blocked by the Senate in 1986 from being a federal judge, once called an African-American prosecutor “boy” and also once said that he thought the Klu Klux Klan was “O.K. until I found out they smoked pot.”
On Monday, a group of black pastors from across the nation gathered on Capitol Hill to shoot down the allegations.
“We have understood that there is a legitimate dimension of racism that exists in our nation,” Bishop Harry Jackson of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Maryland, said during a press conference at the Cannon House Office Building.
“But there is an attempt by some to demonize people [they disagree with] and call them racists when there is actually no proof for it,” he continued. “So let me say clearly, Sen. Sessions is not a racist.”
Some civil rights leaders have come out against the attorney general nominee and specified the reasons for their protest.
“A nominee with a record of refusing to acknowledge the reality of voter suppression across American and in the home state of the Voting Rights Act, Alabama, can’t be trusted to protect voting rights in particular or civil rights in general. Indeed, a nominee with a record of voicing support for the discriminatory voter ID laws that are the very means of voter suppression cannot be relied upon prosecute cases of voter suppression,” said NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks on Sunday.
Jackson, however, listed the number of accomplishments achieved by Sessions throughout his career as a lawyer and prosecutor that suggest he’s far from being a racist.
“Sessions helped desegregate schools in Alabama. That’s a huge issue,” Jackson explained, adding that as former U.S. attorney for Alabama, Sessions worked with the state to make sure that Klansman Henry Francis Hays would be tried for capital punishment for the lynching 19-year-old African-American Michael Donald.