UPDATE: Erick has heard from people close to Sen. Sessions, who are saying the rumor is false, and Sessions is not going to endorse Trump. If true, this means Roll Call and other political news sources got this one wrong.
To political insiders, this isn’t news. Sen. Jeff Sessions wrote large chunks of Donald Trump’s immigration plan (such as it is, as a two-page outline on Trump’s website). Sessions’ now-former communications director, Stephen Miller, moved over to the Trump campaign.
But timing is everything, and Trump would like whatever boost he can get before Monday–getting even one Cruz supporter to sit at home for the caucuses in small, evangelical counties in northwest Iowa is a win for him. So I expect Sessions to make it formal sometime before Monday.
Sessions’ office won’t say when, or even if, he will formalize his support, but his enthusiasm clearly stands out as far more overt than any other lawmaker’s.
If things break Trump’s way in the very close Iowa caucuses, and then he secures his poll-predicted win in the New Hampshire primary, his standing as the leader for the Republican nomination will no longer be questioned. By that point, lawmakers more covert or ambiguous in their support than Sessions will come under additional pressure to climb aboard the Trump bandwagon publicly.
“All of these Republican senators, he doesn’t have the support of one of them,” Trump said Tuesday on MSNBC about his principal Iowa rival, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. “I don’t find anybody that likes him. I talk to senators that frankly want to come out and endorse me. It’s amazing what’s happened over the last two weeks. Over the last two weeks, so many people are calling and saying, ‘We want to get involved with you, we want to endorse you.’”
Sessions is 71. The only place for him to go would be a senior administration post. I make no predictions, but Secretary of State Sessions is probably dancing in his head, should Trump win the White House. He would actually be a good pick for any president in a number of roles, given his chairmanship of the Senate Immigration Subcommittee.
But Sessions, like everyone who falls in behind Trump, will be used until he’s no longer useful. After all, you have to be smart to outwit the other contestants in the political version of “The Apprentice.”