Donald Trump surprised both his supporters and his political opponents Sunday night when he revealed Senator Jeff Sessions as his first Senate endorsement in his presidential campaign.
Sessions, the main detractor of the 2013 immigration bill, sided with Trump, stating that this was not “a campaign, [but] a movement,” referring to Trump’s stance on the immigration question.
The 2013 bill promised a 13-year citizenship track for undocumented immigrants in the country, and also promised $40 billion over the next decade invested into border protection, hiring 20,000 Border Patrol agents, and adding 700 miles of fencing along the border.
Sessions’ represented state, Alabama, was one of the states heading the polls Tuesday, and his support along with that of Gov. Chris Christie and two House Republicans will no doubt surprise voters when the results come out.
The one most surprised would no doubt be Senator Ted Cruz, Texas, who collaborated with Sessions to stifle the immigration bill during its ratification and had long expected Sessions’ endorsement in his campaign.
Cruz told reporters in Oklahoma City: “I’ll wait to comment on endorsements until they actually happen rather than to comment on speculation of endorsements.”
Sessions’ endorsement also harms Marco Rubio, the third Republican candidate of choice, due to Rubio’s co-authorship of the controversial immigration bill and the Republican candidate’s tour of the more conservative, Southern states.
Not only does Sessions’ endorsement hobble the other Republican nominees’ expectations, but also comes as a much needed relief to Trump’s campaign after he declined to denounce support from a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan and disavow a Mussolini quote he posted on his Twitter.