President Donald Trump may have ruffled a few feathers among some of his traditionally reliable supporters when it was revealed that he called Attorney General Jeff Sessions “mentally retarded” and a “dumb southerner.”
That revelation was among many found in the upcoming Bob Woodward book, “Fear: Trump in the White House,” which paints a largely unflattering picture of Trump and his administration.
Sessions was a longtime senator in Alabama before Trump tapped him for the attorney general role. The president’s alleged “dumb southerner” comment apparently did not go over well some people in the state, according to a CNN report.
CNN correspondent Gary Tuchman traveled to the Dew Drop Inn, a restaurant Sessions frequented in Mobile, Alabama, to see if Trump’s immense popularity in Sessions’ home-state had been affected by the incendiary comments.
Mobile resident, Lauren Ashley told CNN she thinks Sessions “is doing a great job.” “I’m behind him. I really like what he stands for,” Ashley said. “I like the way that he think. I like the way he executes.”
She added: “Folks around here look out for their own. And they don’t like the way that the president is treating the attorney general.”
Trump has denied calling Sessions a “dumb southerner,” though old records show that he has. The president has had even sharper criticism for Sessions over the past 18 months, since he recused himself from the Russia investigation which is being led by the special counsel Robert Mueller.
Trump has insulted Sessions, both online and in public, at times calling him “very weak.”
Mark Dodson, another Alabama resident interviewed by CNN, called Trump’s rhetoric toward Sessions “upsetting and very discouraging.”
Sessions at one point suggested he could resign over the president’s behavior.
Diana Whitehead, an Alabama resident who has known Sessions personally for 20 years, said, “Jeff is a patriot. He loves his country.”
When asked how she felt after hearing Trump’s remarks about southerners, Whitehead responded blankly, “not very good.”
Others were less concerned about Trump’s snipes at Sessions, and some called into question the veracity of Woodward’s book instead.
Sessions had an approval rating of 54% as Senator of Alabama, according to a Morning Consult report from September 2016.