At first blush it might seem an unlikely bromance; the bombastic, egotistical New York huckster Donald Trump and the mild-mannered Republican Senator and retired Keebler Elf Jeff Sessions of Alabama, yet the two are curiously drawn together by a shared appetite for intolerance, insensitivity, and inanity.
In fact, the boys have bonded so tightly around their affection for racism and anti-immigration policy that Sessions became the first sitting senator to publicly endorse Trump , and it’s rumored that Sessions sits on Trump’s short-list of potential VP presidential picks.
Senator Jeff, who also serves as The Donald’s national security adviser and chief apologist — while remaining conspicuously quiet about Trump’s recent racists remarks (not those, the other recent racist remarks) toward the Indiana judge handling the civil case against Trump University — appeared on Wednesday’s MTP Daily with Chuck Todd to defend Trump’s anti-Islamic rhetoric.
Todd kicked off the interview by reminding Sessions about the many Republicans who showed the rare good grace to skewer Donald Trump for hurling his juice box at Gonzalo Curiel, to which Sessions changed the topic and commenced a ten minute rambling, largely incoherent, “defense” of… something about religion and the constitution and maybe allies and justifications for turning away refugees.
Throughout the interview, which you can watch below, Sessions steadily loses his composure, and with it his ability to formulate and articulate a thought. In response to Todd’s question about the use of the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism,” Sessions’ response — unsurprisingly similar in style to those of Donald Trump — was devoid of discernible meaning. I, nevertheless, included it here in the event it brings you some joy, as it did me:
What we’re saying is not Islam is a threat to America, what we’re saying is that the radical element within it that is there, they believe they’re religious even if we think they’re outside the great religion of Islam, they’re outside it, but they think they’re not they believe they are. They believe they’re doing what they’re justified in doing they believe they’re following Sharia law in many of the things that they do, and they justify some of them violence to carry out their ends. We need to understand that threat, intellectually challenge it, challenge it and also militarily challenge it.
Ok, to be fair, there is a kernel of an idea in Session’s last sentence. He continues to blather for a bit longer, then miraculously wraps back around to the idea that America should take steps to understand the threat of terror, and ways it can be challenged:
We know that King Abdullah of Jordan and General Al-Sisi of Egypt, the great country, have both called out these extremist elements and condemned them, and we need to have more of that and more of an open national discussion about this. They need to be asked, do you believe that gays should be killed, or not? Do you believe Jihad involves violence? Do you believe that you must overthrow the constitution of the United States because that’s your religious duty? And ask those kind of questions and begin that kind of discussion. I think it would be healthy.
OH! So we just ask them? Problem solved! Why did we not think of this sooner?
Sessions has all the answers, but if you opt not to watch the full video, do drop in at the 8:20 minute mark to witness the expression of elfish awe that flood’s Session’s face when he describes how the Prince of Saudi Arabia recently informed him that “stability helps stop terrorism, it’s the countries that sometimes we tried to help in a good way to create democracy, that has turned to chaos that’s where Al Qaida is, in Syria, Iraq, in Lybia, so I think he made a good point about destabilizing countries particularly those that are our allies,” as if this was some stroke of pure genius beyond which Sessions could ever possible hope to conceive.
More surprising than Sessions’ complete lack of owning a clue was Todd’s lack of crimson hand-shaped forehead welts from repeated off-camera facepalming.
More disappointing, however, was Todd’s lack of journalistic integrity in challenging Jeff Sessions on this claim:
We simply cannot accept the millions of people that are endangered in their homelands, that’s not feasible or practical and there’s no way we can vet them, and we just don’t have the ability to do so.
Yes, we can and yes we do.
The United States has committed to accepting only 10,000 refugees in fiscal year 2016, and the process of vetting is lengthier and more thorough for refugees from Middle Eastern war zones than for any other traveler to the U.S.
The notion that refugees are a security threat is indeed a response to the radical behavior of extremists but make no mistake, it is fueled by fearful, angry, anti-intellectuals professing the hate-mongering rhetoric that is ever-fashionable in opportunist politics.
Alienation of the Muslim community serves to make us more vulnerable, stoking flames of contempt in our adversaries and estranging our potential allies. The whipping up of anti-Muslim hysteria provides justifications for policies that would be considered unthinkable in any other climate; policies that are not only detrimental to Muslim-Americans, but to general levels of social cohesion, tolerance, and tranquility in our country.
In witnessing the tide of mass hysteria that’s ensued over these last many months and years, I think it’s safe to say that terrorists have won this round, having compelled a good portion of the American citizenry to fear a group of human beings fleeing their war-torn countries to save their own lives.
Were we always a nation of cowards?
That sheltering the refugees is politically expedient in our psychological battle with ISIS is irrelevant, however.
It’s simply the decent thing to do.
Featured Image via video screen grab