Jeff Sessions was the early personal choice of Stephen Bannon’s as the Republican presidential candidate capable of shaking up the establishment, according to a report in The New York Times on Sunday.
This was long before the current White House chief strategist had met Donald Trump, who had not thrown his name as a candidate into the proverbial hat at the time.
In January 2013, Sessions was still a senator from Alabama and Bannon was running Breitbart News. The two had the opportunity to sit down in Washington, D.C., and strategize about the GOP, which had just suffered another defeat in the 2012 presidential election.
Bannon was analyzing the 6.6 million white voters who stayed home in 2012 (as opposed to four years earlier) and felt that this was the demographic the party should target. He also believed in order to make that a reality, the Republican nominee needn’t worry about wooing the Latino vote but should adopt valid talking points about immigration, borders, trade and working class employment. Sessions — whom Bannon called his “mentor” — wholeheartedly agreed.
Bannon told Sessions that he needed to run for president even though he didn’t think he would be able to pull off a win. “But you can get the Republican nomination,” he told Sessions. “And once you control the apparatus, you can make fundamental changes. Trade is number 100 on the party’s list. You can make it number one. Immigration is number 10. We can make it number two.”
At the time, Sessions did not see himself as the right candidate and expressed this to Bannon, who had made the same pitch to Sarah Palin in 2011.
In March 2013, Donald Trump was a speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington and what he said captivated Bannon, who knew, then and there, that the future candidate was the right choice to further the nationalist agenda.
Trump officially became a Republican candidate in June of 2015 and Sessions was one of his earliest supporters.
H/T: The Hill
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