Representatives of the state NAACP dropped off a letter on Wednesday at the Raleigh office of U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, urging the North Carolina Republican to reject President-elect Donald Trump’s nomination of Jeff Sessions as the next U.S. attorney general.
The Rev. William J. Barber II, one of the people who delivered the letter, had been in Washington the day before with several clergy members of different faiths leading nearly 500 demonstrators to drop off similar letters to other senators in their offices in the nation’s capital.
The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee opened its hearings on Sessions on Tuesday.
In the letter to Tillis delivered Wednesday, Barber pointed out that the senator from Mecklenburg County and Sessions, a Republican senator from Alabama, opposed the confirmation of U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, a North Carolina native and the first African-American woman to lead the federal justice department.
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The NAACP leader outlined what he described as Sessions’ s “disdain for voting rights and for African Americans” and his concern about Sessions at the helm of the federal justice department at a time when federal courts “are beginning to find that the only fraud about the big lie of ‘voter fraud’ is the lie itself.”
“Sessions’ actions in Alabama when he was younger, and now in his Senate years, reflect those of a man steeped in the imprints of racial inequality and discrimination,” the NAACP letter stated. “This time in history requires checks and balances, committed public servants who bring clear-minded views of justice, individuals who are highly qualified to hold the offices to which they aspire, and who inspire the confidence of a divided nation.”
The letter raises concerns that others have voiced, too, questioning Sessions’ commitment to LGBT rights, immigrants and refugees.
Daniel Keylin, Sen. Tillis' communications director, said in a statement on Wednesday that Barber had not requested a meeting with Tillis’ staff to discuss the NAACP’s concerns. He described the action on Wednesday as “just another media spectacle to attack Republicans.”
“Partisan political activists like Rev. William Barber — on both the far-left and far-right — represent the single greatest threat to bipartisan progress in our political system,” Keylin said in a statement. “While Senator Tillis uses his position on the Senate Judiciary Committee to fight for bipartisan priorities like criminal justice reform and compensation for eugenics victims, Barber uses the microphone the media gives him to widen the partisan divide in North Carolina.”