Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions officially entered the race to reclaim his old Alabama Senate seat Thursday, releasing a new ad endorsing his former boss who fired him last November: President Donald Trump.
In the 30-second ad, Sessions noted the fact that he has refrained from criticizing the president as others have after leaving the administration.
“When I left President Trump’s cabinet, did I write a tell-all book? No. Did I go on CNN and attack the president? Nope,” Sessions says in the opening of the segment. “Have I said a cross word about our president? Not one time.”
Sessions argued that it would have been “dishonorable” to do so, adding that he fully backs the president despite being ousted in the administration following escalating tensions between the two throughout Sessions’ tenure leading the Justice Department.
Sessions served 20 years in the Senate before leaving in 2017 to serve as the attorney general, only to be fired two years later, a day after the 2018 midterms. The president was upset when Sessions recused himself from anything related to the Russia investigation where Trump was wrongly accused of being a Russian agent.
The seat eventually flipped to the Democrats after Sessions’ successor, Luther Strange, lost a Republican primary to former right-wing State Judge Roy Moore. Former U.S. attorney and Democratic nominee Doug Jones ultimately defeated Moore in the special election.
Now, Sessions is joining a crowded field of candidates to reclaim his old seat, including Moore, Rep. Bradley Byrne, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, and Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville.
While tensions between Sessions and Trump likely remain high, it would have been unwise for Sessions to buck the president in Alabama, where Trump remains popular with a 59 percent approval rating in the state, the highest net approval rating for the president of any state in the union at the time of the poll’s release in October.
Sessions was the first U.S. senator to endorse Trump in the 2016 election cycle.