WASHINGTON, DC – It was a day filled with fireworks as Sen. Jeff Sessions took the hot seat during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
As Sessions stood before his colleagues, a group of protesters dressed in white sheets began shouting and holding signs reading “Go Jeffie Boy.”
Sen. Sessions, the first of President-Elect Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees to be grilled by the Senate committee, wants to be the next United States Attorney General. He began with opening statements, that included efforts to try clearing up controversial allegations about his past, views on civil rights organizations and advocates, and rumors of harboring sympathy for the KKK.
“These are false charges,” Sessions told the room. “I abhor the Klan, and what it represents, and its hateful ideology.”
As the former U.S. Attorney answered a firestorm of questions, Dallas-based Reverend Doctor Frederick D. Haynes, III, of Friendship West Baptist Church in South Oak Cliff, was in D.C. watching the action first-hand.
“I think that his serving as the leader, as the top cop, as it were, of the Justice Department, would be a disaster for civil rights," Haynes said.
Haynes is among a group of ministers from across the country who are attending Sessions’ nomination hearing in protest.
“We’ve been very concerned that they are trying to put lipstick on a pig. When you look at his policies, you cannot erase a history, a track record, of being adversarial toward African Americans and towards communities of color," Haynes explained.
Critics and supporters watched the Alabama senator get hammered with questions on topics including voting rights, immigration, and religious freedom.
Sen. John Cornyn of Texas told Sessions, “We know what kind of person you are. You are a good and decent and honorable man.”
Haynes said he was unsure whether he would be called to testify during the hearing on Tuesday.
Haynes published a copy of the testimony he submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee on his blog.