In light of President Trump’s recent comments about Attorney General Jeff Sessions, commentator Charles Krauthammer describes Sessions as a “dead man walking.” In recent phone calls to supporters and confidants, Trump asked, “What would happen if I fired Sessions?” It seems Sessions’ departure is no longer a matter of if, but when. But when he goes, who will replace him? I suggest two names.
This is not to say we support the idea. Sessions is a man of integrity. He was the lone senator to support candidate Trump on the eve of Super Tuesday. One could argue it was Sessions’ support that allowed Trump to run away from Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz in the campaign. Most legal scholars and conservative politicians agree with Sessions’ move to recuse himself from the Russia investigation – the move that has landed him in hot water with the president.
Should Trump replace Sessions? No! But that doesn’t mean he won’t. My guess is that Sessions will not go on his own. He will force Trump’s hand. And sooner rather than later, the move will come. Sessions will be out.
So who will replace him? I see two likely candidates.
The senator from Texas has the right background. It is highly suspected in Texas that he wants to do something else. He has grown weary of being one of 100 in “the world’s most deliberative body.” The senate’s failure to pass legislation – or even vote on legislation – has frustrated Cruz tremendously. It will not be easy to find a candidate who a) is willing to take the job, and b) can win Senate approval. But the Republican senators will vote for Cruz because he is one of their own. And the Democratic senators will support him because they want him gone from the Senate.
Trump has already floated Giuliani’s name to close friends and supporters. While Giuliani has said he doesn’t want the job, he would likely take it. But as a fiercely independent voice, he would not be a good match for the president long-term. However, that may not be much of a problem, as most of Trump’s appointments don’t appear to be long-term anyway.
My best guess is that Trump will fire Sessions by the end of summer. Then he will appoint Senator Cruz. Then Texas Governor Greg Abbott would appoint an interim senator – possibly Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, who would love the job.