MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Several NAACP members, led by their national president, staged a sit-in Tuesday at the Alabama office of U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions to protest his nomination to be the nation’s next attorney general.
Nearly a dozen members of the civil rights organization sat in Sessions’ office in Mobile, Alabama — the city the Republican senator calls home. NAACP President Cornell William Brooks said they intended to remain there until they were able to speak with Sessions — or were removed.
The group raised concerns about multiple aspects of Sessions’ record including his prosecution of African-American activists for alleged voting fraud when he was a U.S. attorney. Brooks said Sessions “can’t be trusted to be the chief law enforcement officer for voting rights.”
“We have an attorney general nominee who does not acknowledge the reality of voter suppression while mouthing faith in the myth of voter fraud,” Brooks said by phone during the sit-in.
The group also raised concerns about the future of the Voting Rights Act under Sessions and allegations — raised in Sessions unsuccessful confirmation hearing for a federal judgeship — that Sessions made racially insensitive remarks when he was a U.S. attorney.
Sessions has said his remarks were mischaracterized during the hearing.
Sarah Isgur Flores, a spokeswoman for Sessions, said in a statement that the nominee has dedicated his career to upholding the rule of law, ensuring public safety and prosecuting government corruption.
“Many African-American leaders who’ve known him for decades attest to this and have welcomed his nomination to be the next Attorney General. These false portrayals of Senator Sessions will fail as tired, recycled, hyperbolic charges that have been thoroughly rebuked and discredited,” the statement added.
The sit-in protest came after the NAACP held news conferences outside Sessions’ various Alabama offices.
The demonstration marked the latest criticism of President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for attorney general. Sessions’ confirmation hearings are expected to begin next week, highlighted by a vigorous push both by those favoring the nomination and those opposed to it.