While waiting for his confirmation hearings to begin, Sen. Jeff Sessions sat in the audience with his granddaughter on his lap.
His whole family, it seems, had turned out for his big day, but a sweet moment inevitably turned into an opportunity for Sessions’ critics to claim he’d carefully orchestrated a cuddle to distance himself from a comment he made about an early 20th-century immigration law.
MTV News’s Ira Madison III was the first to notice the tiny baby, and also the first to accuse Sessions of cynically seeking out a prop.
Informed that the baby was, in fact, related to the man, Madison launched into a tirade about Sessions’ “racism,” claiming that his Asian-American progeny was merely an effort at sending an “I’m not racist” message to CSPAN cameras.
Madison has now apologized – sort of.
He also, for some unspecified reason, took a shot at the Blaze‘s Tomi Lahren.
This isn’t the first time a public media personality has called out a Republican politician for using his own grand-kid as a political prop – or has had to apologize for his comments. Former MSNBC personality Melissa Harris-Perry was forced to issue an “I’m sorry” to Mitt Romney after mocking his black grandson in a prime time news segment.
The comments Madison is referencing are about the 1924 Johnson-Reed Act, which Sessions praised on a radio program in late 2015. The act dramatically curtailed immigration from Europe, based on several factors including national origin. Asians were included in the restricted communities.
At the time, Sessions received criticism for his support of the Johnson-Reed system. He responded by saying it was no surprise that he was vehemently in support of strict immigration policies.
“As Attorney General, Sessions will prioritize curtailing the threats that rising crime and addiction rates pose to the health and safety of our country and that includes enforcing our existing immigration laws,” his spokeswoman, Sarah Isgur Flores, told The Atlantic.