Sunday, June 24 , 2018, 6:14 pm | A Few Clouds 68º


Joe Guzzardi: Donald Trump’s Voters Urge President to Stop the Attacks on Jeff Sessions

Succinctly stated, President Donald Trump needs all the friends he can get.

When Trump was a 1,000-to-1 long-shot presidential candidate, then-Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., went to bat for the embattled real estate mogul, a courageous move that estranged him from most of his congressional colleagues.

Now Trump’s attorney general, Sessions was drawn to Trump because of his strong immigration enforcement platform. Since his election, much of his immigration agenda, including most prominently the wall, has been stalled.

Trump has waffled on several immigration pledges, too, like ending deferred action for childhood arrivals, DACA, and tightening up on employment-based temporary visas.

Only Sessions’ vigorous commitment to internal enforcement — vigorous at least when compared to previous administrations — has saved Trump from an open revolt championed by his base.

Under the new administration’s leadership and prompted by Trump’s executive orders that gave broader authority to agents, Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s stepped-up removals have led to a sharp decline in illegal border crossings.

ICE has arrested more than 41,300 aliens since Trump’s inauguration and through April 29, a 38 percent increase from the same period in 2016. Nearly 75 percent of the arrested aliens have convictions for violent crimes that include homicide, rape, kidnapping and assault.

The attorney general’s next removal targets are criminal aliens harbored in the nation’s 300 sanctuary cities.

Sessions has overseen the escalated campaign to remove aliens, especially criminals, but also, as Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly stated in February, anyone illegally present.

But Trump’s recent attacks on Sessions threaten all the attorney general has accomplished.

In, of all places, a New York Times interview, Trump excoriated Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia investigation, and piled on when he said that he would never have appointed him had he known beforehand his intentions.

The media, always eager to stir up trouble, made much of Trump’s criticism, and futilely hoped that Sessions would resign.

Trump can count on one hand his Capitol Hill friends, and last week he called out GOP leaders for their failure to get on board. In a series of frustrated tweets, he wrote that it is “very sad” that Republicans “do very little to protect their president,” including those in Congress during the 2016 election who, he says, he carried “over the line on my back.”

Although Trump didn’t name names, top on his list should be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

McConnell, during his 30-year Senate career, has supported more overseas workers, and been weak on ending amnesty enticements. Ryan isn’t much better, and is a particularly strong refugee resettlement advocate.

McConnell and Ryan should be Trump’s staunchest advocates, but they’re more aligned with the Democratic opposition.

Trump is the nation’s first dogless chief executive since President William McKinley, 1897-1901. Without a pet pooch, Trump needs to keep his friends close. Sessions’ credentials as an ally are impeccable, and Trump is foolish to publicly malign him.

— Joe Guzzardi is a senior writing fellow for Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) who now lives in Pittsburgh. He can be reached at [email protected], or follow him on Twitter: @joeguzzardi19. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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