The Corner

Politics & Policy

‘Winning’ the Sessions Fight

In response to Scotus News

Rich writes below:

Trump can keep on pounding Sessions — there was another Twitter blast this morning — but if Trump doesn’t actually take the leap and do something about it, all the attacks and criticism will start to make him look weak and indecisive. In which case, he’ll need to move on to the next thing, having succeeded only in diminishing his attorney general and himself.

I think this is right and it’s hard not to see this morning’s Twitter announcement about barring transgenders from serving in the military as an attempt to change the subject and/or to remind the base that even if he fires Sessions he can still be counted on to advance Sessionsism, as it were.

But I expect that he will fire Sessions soon enough. Perhaps during the August recess, on the theory he could appoint a temporary and more pliant AG without Senate approval. But the more likely reason he will fire Sessions is the one Rich alluded to. Not firing him runs the risk — in his mind at least — of making him look weak. We know already that the easiest way to get him to do something is to tell him he can’t. That box has already been checked. If the story becomes that Trump backed down, the urge to “win” will likely become even harder for him to resist.

It will be an interesting test of the Democrats’ cynicism. It would be bad for both Trump and the country for the president to fire the attorney general. I would expect at least some Democrats to recognize the former but downplay the latter. Goading Trump into firing Sessions must be awfully tempting for people like Chuck Schumer, never mind left-wing pundits and reporters. I wouldn’t be surprised if we start hearing “he choked” or “Sessions won” talk to proliferate in the days or weeks ahead. It would be good if the president ignored such taunting. But I have little confidence he will.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

It’s the Stock Market, Stupid

Before going any further, I must say that I don’t believe Protectionist Donald really will go all the way with his present attempt to strangle global trade. I believe that the end run will be quite similar to what it was with the steel and aluminum tariffs — which is to say, a photo op in the Oval Office. ... Read More

An Even Worse Vatican Deal with China

Of all the disturbing and even silly things that have been said in defense of the deal between the Vatican and China reportedly being negotiated, the most offensive is that critics of this proposed arrangement to regularize Catholic life in the PRC don’t understand that the Cold War is over and the world is in ... Read More

Ten Things that Caught My Eye Today (March 23, 2018)

I send out a free weekly e-mail newsletter that typically goes out Saturday mornings and includes WFB flashbacks, Firing Line videos, upcoming events, and some of what I’ve been up to. Sign up here. 1. Cardinal Timothy Dolan in the Wall Street Journal: Talking about New York, he noted: 2. The Guardian on the ... Read More
National Review

Palm Sunday with WFB

The wonderful National Review Institute forum in New York City last month, held on the tenth anniversary of Bill Buckley’s death -- but truly a celebration of his life and legacy -- was captured by the good folks at C-SPAN, who now tell us that two panels of the forum will be broadcast this Sunday on C-SAN 3. ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Sliming of Bari Weiss

If you follow at all the ideological war that’s erupted around the New York Times editorial page, then you know Bari Weiss. It’s too much to call Bari conservative. A better description might be heterodox. On some issues, particularly social issues and immigration, she’s a woman of the Left. On others — ... Read More