Sessions appeared to cite that meeting as a reason that morale among law enforcement had dropped during Obama’s presidency.
“The police had been demoralized. There was all the Obama — there’s a riot, and he has a beer at the White House with some criminal, to listen to him,” Sessions said, appearing to refer to the 2009 meeting. “Wasn’t having a beer with the police officers. So we said, ‘We’re on your side. We’ve got your back, you got our thanks.’ ”
Sessions’ campaign did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment. The New York Times Magazine asked Sessions’ campaign to clarify what he meant by the comment but the campaign declined.
Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, died on May 25 in Minneapolis while being arrested.
Gates’ arrest in 2009 had sparked national conversations over racial profiling and police procedures.
“But there was another motivation,” he continued. “I thought that it would be hubristic and dishonest if I compared what happened to me to what happens to Black people in the inner city.”
Sessions was a senator from Alabama for two decades before he gave up what was widely seen as a safe seat to become President Donald Trump’s attorney general. Sessions recused himself within three weeks of being sworn in from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and Trump has never forgiven him for it.
Trump fired Sessions in 2018 after months of publicly shaming him.