Republican senators are warning Democrats that their efforts to resurrect racism charges against Sen. Jeff Sessions' nomination for attorney general won't derail his confirmation and will only serve to poison the well for future bipartisanship early this Congress.
Since Sessions' nomination, Democrats and liberal civil rights groups have reiterated racism charges from 1986 that sunk the Alabama senator's appointment to a federal judgeship by President Reagan. Sessions' supporters and those who believe some of the charges are overblown have spoken out on his behalf in recent weeks in an attempt to debunk the 30-year-old claims.
Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., who calls Sessions a friend of 18 years even though he doesn't agree with all of his policy positions, has said Democrats' decision to re-level charges of racism against the Alabama senator could poison the well for any chance of cross-party cooperation this year.
"I think it's very questionable what the Democrats are doing," he told the Washington Examiner. "It has a way of pulling our string of comity in the Senate — it's been pulled pretty hard and it looks like we're going to go through some more pulling."