In a rather extraordinary message aimed at the President of the United States, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told CNN there would be “holy hell to pay” if Donald Trump fires Jeff Sessions.
Below are Graham’s exact comments,
As a human being, I think he should show respect for Jeff Sessions as a person. Jeff Sessions was the most loyal supporter of Donald Trump. A rock-solid conservative. The reason I like him so much is I often disagree with him, but I’d never believed he was a man who lacks integrity or fair play. This effort to basically marginalize and humiliate the attorney general is not going over well in the Senate. I don’t think it’s going over well in the conservative world. If you believe Jeff Sessions should be fired, use the power you have and accept the consequences. I hope it stops. I’m 100% behind Jeff Sessions. The chairman of the Judiciary Committee sent a pretty chilling tweet yesterday. There will be no confirmation for a new attorney general in 2017. If Jeff Sessions is fired, there will be holy hell to pay. Any effort to go after Mueller could be the beginning of the end of the Trump presidency unless Mueller did something wrong.
The reason this is more than rhetoric is two-fold. Graham has been on the edge of every major Senate vote, and with the Republican’s razor-thin majority in the upper chamber, they can ill afford to lose his votes. Far more important is what Graham referred to in his comments—the Senate confirmation for Trump appointees.
CNN reported that Trump “has made 237 nominations and has just 51 confirmations, according to CNN data…”
Many of these confirmations are for undersecretaries whose work is vital to the cabinet members Trump has appointed, and therefore vital to the administration’s success. With federal agencies still full of Obama appointees the Trump team hopes to soon replace, if these confirmations are iced or significantly delayed, the President’s ability to implement his policies will be severely impeded.
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who Graham referred to in his statement, Tweeted,
Everybody in D.C. Shld b warned that the agenda for the judiciary Comm is set for rest of 2017. Judges first subcabinet 2nd / AG no way
All of this raises significant questions about our constitutional republic and the separation of powers. Is this exactly how the legislative branch is supposed to keep the executive branch in check? Or, is this an example of the legislative branch abdicating its duties and hurting the country by getting even at the President?
However one may view these questions, one thing is certain: when United States Senators are telling the President of the United States from their own political party that they will ice his agenda if he fires their former colleague, their respect and esteem for Jeff Sessions is incredibly high and their allegiance to him is unwavering.