Tucker Carlson has called Pres. Trump “nuts” for his repeated humiliations of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whom Trump would like to resign (ostensibly over his failure to prosecute Hillary Clinton, but really over his recusal from the Russia investigation, as Trump himself told the NYT). Carlson wasn’t alone in his criticism; many of the more populist-nationalist members of the commentariat rushed to support the man Trump has yet to nickname “Beleaguered Beauregard” (but give him a day or two to think of it). Even Rush Limbaugh , King of the Entertainment Wing of the Right, praised Sessions yesterday.
But I don’t think the source of the panic here is that Trump firing his own AG would again toss a jerrycan of gasoline on the Russia investigation story, do you? Nah.
Rather, a bunch of people who used the endorsement from then-Sen. Sessions as their rationalization for jumping on the Trump Train in 2016 fear that losing him as AG would stall their agenda on immigration. Not coincidentally, it would also tend to suggest they fooled themselves into thinking Trump prioritized their heavy investment in the immigration issue. Instead, Sessions may be gone soon while 10 states are having to threaten to sue Trump over his continuation of Pres. Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Of course, despite his general inclinations, Trump may yet decide not to fire Sessions. But the underlying issue for many of his supporters in the media has been exposed.
Breitbart’s Matthew Boyle, defending Sessions, wrote:
“What Trump could do here is seek out a diplomatic solution with Sessions and try to salvage the relationship for the good of the country, the movement, and Trump’s core populist voters. Otherwise, it could mean a bloody mess of a nightmare in the conservative media and among Trump’s base. Sure, some would follow the president no matter what. Others, though, quite clearly would veer away from him after making such a move. He can’t afford to lose his own voters at this point, nor can he afford to lose anyone in the conservative media who’s on his side.”
Boyle, despite his attempt to frame it as a warning to Trump (probably bad psychology, btw) could not help but reveal his real fear — that firing Sessions would be a “nightmare in the conservative media.” His real fear should be that more Breitbart readers (and Fox News viewers) would ultimately side with Trump over Sessions, because that is almost certainly what would happen.
The rich irony would be that the people most upset over the possibility of losing Sessions generally cheered Trump rolling over various other “disloyal” Republicans and thereby primed their audience to accept it happening to Sessions.
And seriously, what is Fox News going to do? Suddenly become an honest broker of Trump’s behavior during its primetime lineup? Anyone think that wouldn’t wreck their ratings? Anyone think Breitbart wants to hemorrhage clicks, or lose the support they receive from people close to Trump?
Sessions didn’t even need to be fired to expose the weakness of the nationalist-populist media; it took only the humiliation and the threat to accomplish it. It is more real-time proof (if needed) that when push comes to shove, loyalty to Trump will prevail over anyone else’s agenda items.
The entertainers who love Sessions are in danger of learning they have no more influence among the rank-and-file than last year’s shocked NeverTrumpers. The pundits who rationalized their transactional embrace of Trump through Sessions are finding out that the transaction resembles Darth Vader’s deal with Lando Calrissian. They are left praying Trump doesn’t alter the deal any further.
PS: Consider sharing this post with the buttons below, as well as following WHRPT on Twitter. Thanks for reading and sharing.