President Donald Trump on Monday evening held a telephone town hall with former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville ahead of Alabama’s primary runoff Election Day on Tuesday.
Trump has endorsed Tuberville in the Republican U.S. Senate runoff against former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Sessions was Trump’s first attorney general after being an early supporter of his 2016 campaign, however the president has strongly criticized Sessions since he recused himself from the Russia investigation. Trump has even called on Sessions to drop out of the Senate race, and Tuberville appeared on Air Force One with the president recently.
During the pre-runoff tele town hall, Trump continued to urge Alabamians to send a fresh choice to Washington, D.C., bashing Sessions in the process.
“[T]omorrow is a big day,” Tuberville said at the beginning of the call.
Introducing the president, Tuberville commented, “I saw how he was fighting the D.C. swamp and the people all around him, and I made up my mind at that time that God had sent Donald Trump to us — and he needed some help. So that’s the reason I’m doing this today, trying to support and represent the state of Alabama and go stand beside President Donald Trump.”
Trump began his remarks by noting, “It’s great to be speaking to the people of Alabama, a place I love, a place where we’ve had tremendous success. Where they like me and I like them — maybe love is a better word, frankly. But it’s been a great state.”
“And I love helping you,” Trump continued. “And one of the ways that we’re going to be helping you is recommending strongly Tommy Tuberville to be your next senator. He’s a tremendous guy.”
“Tommy is a very special guy. He’s a leader, he’s a real conservative — a true conservative,” the president said of Tuberville. “And he loves your state. And he loves this country. He will protect your Second Amendment like I’m doing.”
Trump said the former football coach will staunchly support securing the United States’ border with Mexico, including building “the wall.”
The president also discussed his own reelection campaign, as well as the state of his administration. Accomplishments he highlighted included rebuilding the military and reforming the Veterans Affairs system.
Trump said he views Tuberville as someone who will further help him in bettering the country’s treatment of its veterans.
‘I had no idea it could be as bad as it was’
The president then turned his attention to Sessions.
“I will tell you, I got to know Jeff Sessions very well,” Trump explained. “I made a mistake when I put him in as the attorney general. He had his chance, and he blew it. He recused himself right at the beginning — just about on day one — on a ridiculous scam, the Mueller scam, the ‘Russia, Russia, Russia’ scam. And Jeff didn’t have the courage to stay there.”
“He immediately ran for the hills,” the president added of Sessions. “And he ruined a lot of lives, a lot of very innocent, good lives — people that went there all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, they went there and they ended up getting caught up in a scam. It was a scam of Pelosi and Schiff and just a horrible thing — Schumer — a horrible, horrible thing.”
He then contrasted Tuberville and Sessions.
“Tommy Tuberville is going to do a job like you haven’t seen,” Trump stressed. “He’s going to take over, and he’s going to be representing you well. He’s going to have a call direct-line into my office. That I can tell you.”
“We had the Jeff Sessions thing, we gave it a shot. I had no idea it could be as bad as it was,” the president advised. “But he had no clue. And he just let it get away from him. It’s really a shame.”
Trump subsequently highlighted the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 as a marquee accomplishment of his administration.
Speaking of these “big tax cuts,” Trump added, “Tommy’s going to help me, because we’re going for additional tax cuts.”
He also noted his administration’s track record of getting rid of burdensome government regulations that unnecessarily hamper economic growth. Trump touted America becoming “energy independent” during his presidency.
“Tommy is going to do great for Alabama. Tommy is going to be a real solid guy — he’ll never let you down,” Trump emphasized.
The president, in wrapping up his comments, once again encouraged Alabamians to go out and vote for Tuberville on Tuesday.
“He’ll be a tremendous senator,” Trump said.
‘It’s time to continue to send outsiders to Washington, D.C.’
The call was not advertised to the media, however Yellowhammer News was one of the many registered voters invited via text message to tune in.
Tuberville spoke at length after Trump left the call. The Senate candidate outlined — among other items — his support for law enforcement, conservative judges, getting God back in schools and combatting the rise of socialism.
“I want to fight,” Tuberville remarked. “I’m a fighter. I’m not a follower, I’m a leader. We need a leader from the state of Alabama that’s going to fight.”
He then lamented the drug epidemic plaguing many rural communities in the Yellowhammer State. Tuberville spoke about his support for rural economic development, including bringing jobs back from overseas into local communities.
“We’re losing population, we’re losing our kids — they’re moving out-of-state,” he advised. “We can’t allow that to happen.”
Tuberville subsequently commented, “China’s been a mess.”
He voiced his support for bringing manufacturing and other jobs back from China “to give our kids an opportunity to stay in this state, have good jobs, have families and enjoy life in the great state of Alabama.”
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Tuberville added. “I’m doing this for the right reasons. I believe in this country. I believe in this state. I believe in the people.”
“President Trump’s done a great job being President of the United States, being a businessperson” he concluded. “Now it’s time to continue to send outsiders to Washington, D.C., and help make those hard decisions. Let’s go out and vote tomorrow.”
Polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. — 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday.
Masks are strongly recommended to be worn at polling sites but cannot legally be required. Local elections officials, supported by Secretary of State John Merrill’s office, have taken steps to sanitize voting locations while enabling social distancing as much as possible.
The winner of the GOP Senate runoff will go on to face U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) in November.
Sessions, shortly after the Trump-Tuberville tele town hall, appeared on Fox News’ “The Story with Martha MacCallum.”
On Tuesday, there are also Republican runoffs for Congress in AL-01 and AL-02, as well as a statewide race for the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals, among other respective local matters.
You can find your polling location and sample ballot here.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn