The following is a guest post by Jeremy Hooper, special projects consultant at GLAAD and lead researcher on GLAAD's Trump Accountability Project.
Sure, when you’re a public figure, sometimes you have to be polite. People share their voices and views, and even if their ideas or acts might not be your cup of tea, you still smile. Nod. Thank them for their time.
However, if you’re a sitting US Senator and the person before you sings a song that viciously condemns hundreds of thousands of your constituents under a thesis that the nation has become “like Sodom of old,” you might want to tame your enthusiasm just a little bit. You certainly don’t want to stop right after the most hostile part of her song and give her some mid-tune applause. You also probably shouldn’t follow her performance by telling her, on mic, that she did a “great job.” Oh, and you definitely don’t want to sum up the whole production by giving it a full-on, enthusiastic, senatorial standing ovation right?
Yet that’s precisely what Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the man who is going before his US Senate colleagues in hopes of becoming this country’s next Attorney General, did at a 2010 town hall meeting in his state. Even though the singer belting just inches in front of him peppered her “We Want America Back” song with lines like...
“They’re trying to convince us that what’s wrong is right, what’s abnormal is normal, and that what God himself called an abomination is nothing more than an ‘alternative lifestyle.’”
...Senator Sessions had no problem blessing that performer with the aforementioned chain of praise. Take a look for yourself. The song begins at 3:30:
If he agrees with the song’s sentiment, that’s bad. If he disagrees with much of the tone and tenor yet still rose to his feet to give it his approval, that’s bad judgement. Either is concerning for a potential US Attorney General.
Though maybe Team Trump just solved its problem finding an inauguration performer?
As Sessions begins his confirmation hearing for Attorney General, check out his Trump Accountability Project profile for more on his record, including some of the following gems:
-- A former deputy, a black man, testified that Sessions called him "boy," warned him about how he talked to white people, and said that Sessions thought the Ku Klux Klan was "OK, until he learned that they smoked marijuana."
-- Equated support for Federal Marriage Amendment with changing the constitution so that it opposed slavery: “When a case comes up of this kind, we can say with certainty there is a likelihood, and many scholars believe a very high likelihood, that the Court would rule that traditional marriage is too restrictive, it has to be changed from the way the people have defined it. We do not have to accept that. We have every right to amend the Constitution. The laws in the Constitution provided for slavery---that was changed.”
-- Reportedly fought to stop LGBTQ conference: As Alabama's attorney general in 1996, Sessions attempted to stop the Southeastern Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual College Conference from meeting at the University of Alabama under a state law passed in 1992 that made it illegal for public universities to fund in any way a group that promotes "actions prohibited by the sodomy and sexual misconduct laws."
-- Known for his hardline stances on immigration, for decades opposing any bill that includes a path to citizenship.