The Corner

Politics & Policy

Sessions and Trumpism

Jeff Sessions, the first senator to endorse Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, just lost his bid to regain his old seat. Trump, still angry at Sessions for recusing from the Russia investigation when he was attorney general, had endorsed his opponent, Tommy Tuberville.

If there is such a thing as “Trumpism,” Sessions was a Trumpist before Trump was. He was sometimes alone in advocating tighter limits on legal immigration. He did more than any other senator to defeat a bipartisan “comprehensive immigration reform” in 2013. He slammed trade-liberalizing deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

For Trump to prioritize these issues would have meant letting bygones be bygones and backing Sessions in this race. Some of Trump’s earliest and strongest supporters sided with Sessions because of these issues, especially immigration. But Trump isn’t much of a Trumpist himself, and neither, it turns out, are most Alabama Republicans.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.