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

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

Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderEric Holder: Calls to abolish ICE are 'a gift to Republicans' The Hill's Morning Report — Trump denigrates NATO allies, floats 4 percent solution Obama appears in new ad from Dem redistricting group MORE in a new interview slams Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsConservatives moving to impeach Rosenstein soon: report Senators urge DOJ to probe whether Russians posed as Islamic extremist hackers to harass US military families The Hill's Morning Report — Trump readies for Putin summit: 'He’s not my enemy’ 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.