Donald Trump has privately warned Jeff Sessions that he will attack him if Sessions decides to run for his old Senate seat in Alabama, a new report from The New York Times says, raising the possibility controversial Roy Moore could once again win the Republican nomination.
Sessions was one of the earliest backers of Trump during his 2016 presidential run, and for that was rewarded with a post as attorney general. But the relationship between Trump and the former senator quickly fell apart when Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation after it was discovered that he was not truthful about his contacts with Russians during the campaign, frequently coming under attack by Trump for allowing the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and months of investigation that damaged the president politically. Trump ultimately pushed Sessions out of his post.
Now, there are reports that Trump is planning to launch new attacks on Sessions if he runs for senator in Alabama. The New York Times report noted that Trump privately sent Sessions a message warning that attacks will be coming if Sessions tries to return to the Senate seat he left when he joined Trump’s administration, which was won by Democrat Doug Jones in a shocking upset. The Republican Moore was heavily favored to win until a series of allegations that he pursued relationships with young teenage girls when he was in his 30s emerged and had sexually inappropriate relationships with some of them.
There had already been speculation building for weeks that Trump may attempt to kill a Senate bid from Sessions out of spite, with another Alabama Republican saying he fears that Trump could end up playing spoiler in the race.
“The President is very angry with Jeff,” Congressman Bradley Byrne, who is also running for the Republican Senate nomination, told the Washington Post last week. “I think the President will be very vocal against him. For Jeff’s sake, I don’t want that. But I think that’s the reality of what he’s facing.”
Republicans have raised fears that potential attacks from Trump on Sessions could once again hand the nomination to Moore, who is seen as a weak candidate against what is believed to be a very beatable Jones. Trump originally endorsed Moore’s primary opponent, incumbent Senator Luther Strange, but became a vocal backer of Moore after he pulled off the upset in the primary. Trump continued to push for Moore even after the allegations of sexual misconduct and was one of the most vocal campaigners for Moore in the final days of the race.