Interesting to me: the recurring media description of the Trump/Sessions drama in terms of Trump humiliating Sessions. (How long will Sessions be willing to be “humiliated” publicly like this, various articles have been asking?)
Interesting to me because I don’t see Sessions as being humiliated here at all. Quite on the contrary: this looks to me like Sessions’ finest hour.
Don’t get me wrong. I loath everything Sessions stands for. I think he is the worst choice for Attorney General made in my lifetime. All his policy initiatives reflect a cramped and vindictive spirit. Moreover, I think it’s clear he perjured himself during his confirmation hearings.
But Trump’s complaint about Sessions is for the one right thing he’s done– his following the law and the norms of the Justice Department as required of him, and recusing himself from the Trump/Russia investigation.
And as always, Trump’s conduct is abominable. As always, what he is saying and what he is attempting to do points consistently in the direction of brokenness and the degradation of the American system of government.
Yes, one might say that if a respectable president were continuously expressing his displeasure with his Attorney General for reasons that are morally and legally defensible, any self-respecting Attorney General would resign. In a normal situation, a president’s expression of a lack of confidence in a member of his cabinet would reflect badly on that official, who serves “at the pleasure of the president.”
But when an outlaw president, behaving in a disgraceful way in pursuit of a criminal purpose (obstructing justice), berates an Attorney General for having shown respect for basic American norms and the ruile of law, that Attorney General’s refusal to yield to that President and allow himself to be pushed out means something different.
It is not to be understood as acquiescing in his public “humiliation.”
It is an act of defiance.
It is, in its own way, heroic.