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NEA President condemns nomination of Sessions to lead Justice Department

Eskelsen García: Sessions “has a long and disturbing history of opposing civil rights and pursuing a racist agenda.”

WASHINGTON - November 18, 2016 -

National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen García released the following statement on the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions to serve as attorney general in the presidential administration of Donald Trump:

“Senator Jeff Sessions has a long and disturbing history of opposing civil rights and pursuing a racist agenda. His own political party found him too racist to serve on the federal bench. His former colleagues from the Justice Department testified that he called civil rights groups 'un-American,' said his only problem with the Ku Klux Klan is that they use marijuana, referred to a black coworker as 'boy,' and told him to 'be careful what you say to white folks.' Sessions has publicly denounced the work of the NAACP and ACLU and sought to prosecute African American organizers for registering other African Americans to vote. Based on these views, his party should reject him again.

This nomination, along with other disturbing personnel announcements such as Steve Bannon as a senior advisor, are deeply troubling indications that President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team has every intention of creating a presidential administration that is a continuation of the hate-filled campaign.  In a time when our students are facing harassment, intimidation, and violence based on their race, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and disability like never before, this nomination is beyond unacceptable and every person of conscience should oppose confirmation of Sen. Sessions as the nation’s highest ranking law enforcement official.” 

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing nearly 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers. Learn more at

CONTACT: Richard Allen Smith, NEA Communications  202-716-6461 cell,