Holder: Sessions is ‘racially insensitive’ and ‘racially unaware’

Holder: Sessions is ‘racially insensitive’ and ‘racially unaware’
© Getty Images

Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderComey's book tour is all about 'truth' — but his FBI tenure, not so much James Comey and Andrew McCabe: You read, you decide Eric Holder headed to New Hampshire for high-profile event MORE in a new interview slams Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard Sessions Trump to lawmakers pressing Sessions to investigate Comey and Clinton: 'Good luck with that' Five takeaways from Trump adding Giuliani Trump disputes report that he calls Sessions 'Mr. Magoo' MORE, calling him “racially insensitive” and “racially unaware.”

"I think he has done some things both in his career and as attorney general that I think have been racially insensitive," the former attorney general told  Politico's "Off Message" podcast, referring to Sessions. 

"And there are times when I think he is racially unaware."


Holder listed Sessions's decision to reverse an Obama-era memo ordering federal prosecutors to refrain from charging defendants with certain offenses that carried mandatory minimum sentences as an example of the attorney general being "racially unaware."

Holder also called Sessions's moves on voting rights, criminal justice reform and protections for members of the LQBTQ community "distressing."

Holder, however, resisted calling Sessions a racist, saying he needs “hard and fast proof” to do that. 

He also said the Trump administration is empowering white nationalist groups.

"He has given license, however, to a small part of the electorate of the population to say things that they might not have said before, to do things that they might not have done before," Holder said, adding that Trump has not lived up to the "moral tone" Americans expect of their leaders.

Holder told Politico that neo-Nazis and white nationalists during the Obama administration "didn’t feel empowered in a way that I think they do now.”

He added that Trump is "partially" responsible for the change.