Jeff Sessions’ White House Nickname Reflects The Total Contempt Trump Has For Him
White House staffers reveal Trump’s nickname for Sessions as his contempt for his Attorney General solidifies in the wake of Mueller’s success in the Russia investigation, but – as The Washington Post noted – the joke’s on Trump.
Trump’s tumultuous relationship with Jeff Sessions
Trump’s relationship with Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been strained at best.
The Washington Post reported in mid-July 2017 that: “Trump harshly criticized his attorney general and one of his most loyal supporters, Jeff Sessions, for recusing himself from the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, indicating that he regretted the choice.”
Citing a recent Trump interview published by The New York Times, The Washington Post added that: “Trump vented about the probe and said that he would not have appointed Sessions — a top campaign supporter — if he had known Sessions would step aside.”
“Sessions gets the job. Right after he gets the job he recuses himself. Was that a mistake? Well, Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else,” Trump said
Trump followed up with a two-day Twitter-tirade in which he berated Sessions for his “VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes” and questioning why he had not launched an investigation into Ukrainian efforts to help Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign. “Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump campaign – ‘quietly working to boost Clinton.’ So where is the investigation A.G.” he tweeted.
NBC affiliate New England Cable News reported at the time that: “Trump’s startlingly public criticism of Jeff Sessions over the last week suggests an effort to pressure the attorney general into resigning with a possible eye toward replacing him and ending the Justice Department investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.” [Vox and other news agencies came to the same conclusion.]
Most recently, Trump took to Twitter again this week, criticizing Sessions once again. “Why is A.G. Jeff Sessions asking the Inspector General to investigate potentially massive FISA abuse. Will take forever, has no prosecutorial power and already late with reports on Comey etc. Isn’t the I.G. an Obama guy? Why not use Justice Department lawyers? DISGRACEFUL!” he tweeted, prompting more speculation that Trump is interested in forcing Sessions out so he can replace him with someone else who would shut down Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.
Trump has a nickname for Jeff Sessions
Elaborating on the decaying relationship between Trump and Sessions, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that:
It’s no secret in Washington that the relationship between the president and the attorney general has been badly broken for months. The president has repeatedly issued public broadsides, calling Sessions “weak” or criticizing his leadership of the Justice Department, despite the attorney general’s frequent proclamations of devotion to Trump’s agenda on immigration and crime.
Continuing, The Washington Post revealed Trump’s nickname for Sessions:
Behind the scenes, Trump has derisively referred to Sessions as “Mr. Magoo,” a cartoon character who is elderly, myopic and bumbling, according to people with whom he has spoken. Trump has told associates that he has hired the best lawyers for his entire life, but is stuck with Sessions, who is not defending him and is not sufficiently loyal.
The Joke’s on Trump
However, as The Washington Post reported in a subsequent article: “there is another high-profile, tremendous, bigly important executive branch figure who may be a more apt comparison with Magoo.”
The central gag of the Magoo cartoons was his stubborn refusal to acknowledge his terrible eyesight. That arrogance is what propels the character into his madcap adventures….The original Magoo — rich, resentful of the youth, pro-business and functionally blind — was a riff on the myopic conservatism of 1950s America, a culture gripped by the anti-Communist crusade of Wisconsin Republican Sen. Joseph McCarthy.
“Here’s a guy that can be completely oblivious of everything in the world, not even open his eyes to look around,” Steve Bosustow, one of Magoo’s creators, told author Adam Abraham in “When Magoo Flew: The Rise and Fall of Animation Studio UPA.” “[A]nd yet he can get what he wants.”
To pound the fact home that they were referring to Trump, The Washington Post place a side-by-side photo of Trump and Mr. Magoo into the article at that point.
Concluding the comparison, The Washington Post reported that:
When the creators sat down to write Magoo, they were not afraid to use the character’s single-minded ophthalmological arrogance as a link to McCarthy and the fevered hunt for Communists in Hollywood and Washington.
“It was as natural to us as drinking water that we would poke fun at conservatism,” Bill Hurtz, a UPA production designer who later helped create “Rocky and Bullwinkle,” told the Wall Street Journal in 1997. “It was not ideological per se, but we thought, ‘How would a guy of this temperament react to things.’”
According to author Abraham, the results were that Magoo’s “intransigence and inability to see the world the way it really is allowed UPA’s artists to satirize America in the age of Eisenhower, suburban sprawl, and the bomb.”