Trump Endorses Jeff Sessions' Opponent In Alabama Senate Runoff

The president, whose relationship with his former attorney general has soured, backed former football coach Tommy Tuberville ahead of the March 31 runoff.

President Donald Trump has endorsed his former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Republican opponent in Alabama’s upcoming runoff election.

Former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville “will be a great Senator for the people of Alabama,” the president tweeted Tuesday evening. “Coach Tommy Tuberville, a winner, has my Complete and Total Endorsement. I love Alabama!”

In an apparent jab at Sessions, Trump called Tuberville a “REAL LEADER” who would never let the Trump administration and coalition down.

Tuberville responded on Twitter by saying he’s “looking forward to helping you drain the swamp and #KAG,” a reference to the president’s 2020 “Keep America Great” campaign.

Sessions, a senator for two decades before joining the Trump administration, was the first senator to endorse the now-president. But Trump constantly lashed out at Sessions during his less than two years as attorney general, calling him an “embarrassment” and deeming the Justice Department a “disaster” under his leadership. 

Trump said hiring Sessions was his “biggest mistake” after the former senator recused himself from the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, refusing to act as the president’s personal protector in the probe.

“This is what happens to someone who loyally gets appointed Attorney General of the United States & then doesn’t have the wisdom or courage to stare down & end the phony Russia Witch Hunt,” Trump tweeted earlier this month after Sessions failed to win the GOP nomination outright. “Recuses himself on FIRST DAY in office, and the Mueller Scam begins!” Trump wrote on Wednesday.

Both Tuberville and Rep. Bradley Byrne (R) have attacked Sessions for not being loyal enough to Trump. But the former football coach has also criticized the president in the past, saying he was “pissed off” at Trump over veterans’ health care issues.

The president’s endorsement on Tuesday is sure to give Tuberville a boost in the March 31 runoff for the Republican nomination. The winner advances to the November general election against incumbent Democrat Doug Jones. CNN reports some GOP leaders are uncertain how Tuberville will fare, given his lack of political experience. The candidates are competing for the same Senate seat Sessions abandoned in 2017.