BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — During a speech at the Alabama Policy Institute’s annual dinner, conservative talk radio host and Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham unloaded on “establishment” Republicans and praised Alabama for being one of the “pockets of patriots” that she believes exist around the country. But she saved perhaps her highest praise for Alabama’s junior senator Jeff Sessions, who Ingraham held up as a model for what Republican lawmakers should aspire to be.
“We need like 57 Jeff Sessions (in the Senate),” Ingraham declared to enthusiastic applause. “We need all Republicans to be like Jeff Sessions. He ran unopposed by both Democrats and Republicans for a reason. He’s up there on the Senate floor tirelessly fighting against the big special interests, even against his entire Party leadership. They stripped him of his committee chairmanship — thanks, Mitch McConnell. And yet he remains one of the most beloved, popular, and admired men in conservative circles today for having the courage of his convictions.”
Ingraham warned the large crowd in the ballroom of the Cahaba Grand Conference Center that the GOP must move away from being the Party of “big business” and focus instead on supporting small businesses, families and the working class.
“I believe people like Jeff Sessions are going to be seen as visionaries who tried to warn the Republican Party against being branded as just the Party of big business,” she said. “Ronald Reagan understood that the Republican Party had to be the Party of America’s soul, and America’s wallet, and America’s defense. The soul of the people. Where are they? What kind of national family do we want? How do we support those families? How do we encourage them?”
Ingraham specifically criticized Republican leaders in Washington for backing multinational trade deals that she says are hurting American workers, most recently the Trans-Pacific Partnership, of which Sen. Sessions was a vocal opponent.
“Call me crazy, but I think Republicans should fight just as hard for the American family, for American values, for religious liberty, as they fight for some huge global trade deal whose rules are written in foreign countries by foreign trade representatives,” said Ingraham. “Do that and the people will start listening to you and they’ll start respecting you more.”
Ingraham’s remarks were well received by the large crowd of activists and businesspeople who were in attendance to support the Alabama Policy Institute’s mission of advancing “free markets, limited government and strong families.”