Former secretary of state Condolezza Rice on Monday endorsed Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions to be U.S. Attorney General under President-elect Donald Trump.
Rice, an Alabama native herself, wrote a letter of appreciation to Sen. Chuck Grassley about Sessions, and CNN reports that she said Sessions, a “friend,” is someone she admired “greatly.”
“He is a man who is committed to justice and knows that law and order are necessary to guarantee freedom and liberty,” Rice wrote.
Rice, who was the first Black woman to serve as secretary of state, also said that Sessions has worked hard to heal the wounds in Alabama brought on by the “prejudice and injustice against descendants of slaves.”
As previously reported on The Root, in 1986 Ronald Reagan nominated Sessions to be a judge for the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Alabama. He was not confirmed by the Senate because there were concerns about past comments he had allegedly made about desegregation and civil rights groups. Then-Sen. Joe Biden urged Reagan to withdraw Sessions from consideration after Thomas Figures, an African-American former deputy of Sessions, testified that Sessions had once warned him to be careful about what he said “to white folks,” and confirmed allegations that Sessions had called the NAACP “un-American.” That same deputy said that Sessions had called him “boy” on more than one occasion and had said that he thought the Ku Klux Klan was “OK until he learned that they smoked marijuana.”
As CNN notes, those old allegations are likely to dog him as he goes into his confirmation hearings on Tuesday, and an endorsement from Rice could help him gain the support he needs from the Senate.
Rice also noted that Sessions spearheaded the effort to award the Congressional Gold Medal to one of her “personal heroes,” Rosa Parks.
“I know that Sen. Sessions will uphold the laws of our country and will work to ensure that every person here in the United States is given the voice that is deserved,” Rice wrote.
Read more at CNN.