Trump endorses Tuberville over Sessions in Alabama Senate runoff

Trump endorses Tuberville over Sessions in Alabama Senate runoff
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpJustice says it will recommend Trump veto FISA bill Fauci: Nominating conventions may be able to go on as planned Poll: Biden leads Trump by 11 points nationally MORE on Tuesday endorsed former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville in his Alabama runoff election against Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe Memo: Trump tweets cross into new territory Sessions goes after Tuberville's coaching record in challenging him to debate The 10 Senate seats most likely to flip MORE, dealing a blow to Trump's former attorney general as he attempts to get back into the Senate.

"Coach Tommy Tuberville, a winner, has my Complete and Total Endorsement. I love Alabama!" Trump tweeted.

The president praised Tuberville as a "terrific head football coach at Auburn University" and a "REAL LEADER who will never let MAGA/KAG, or our Country, down!" Tuberville thanked Trump in a tweet of his own, saying he was "Looking forward to helping you drain the swamp and #KAG!"

Tuberville and Sessions will be on the ticket in a runoff election on March 31 after no candidate received 50 percent of the vote in last week's GOP primary. Tuberville and Sessions were the top two vote-getters in the primary, with roughly 33 percent and 32 percent of the vote, respectively.

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Trump had remained neutral in the race leading up to the primary.

But his endorsement on Tuesday could deal a fatal blow to Sessions's campaign for his old Senate seat, which he vacated when he joined the president's Cabinet as attorney general. Sessions was the first U.S. senator to endorse Trump during the 2016 campaign but has since become a punching bag for the president.

Trump has repeatedly excoriated Sessions over his decision to recuse himself from overseeing the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. He mocked Sessions's accent, urged him to unrecuse himself, and described him as a "total disaster" and "an embarrassment to the great state of Alabama."

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Sessions has remained loyal, refusing to criticize the president publicly and building his Senate campaign on his efforts to implement Trump's agenda.

Tuberville, meanwhile, has sought to cast Sessions as insufficiently loyal to the president, citing his role in the Russia probe.

Whichever Republican emerges from the runoff will likely be favored to defeat Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) in November.

Jones won the special election to replace Sessions in 2017, defeating former Judge Roy MooreRoy Stewart MooreSessions goes after Tuberville's coaching record in challenging him to debate The 10 Senate seats most likely to flip Sessions fires back at Trump over recusal: 'I did my duty & you're damn fortunate I did" MORE to become the first Democrat in Alabama elected to the U.S. Senate in 25 years. Moore faced allegations of sexual misconduct and inappropriate interactions with young girls during the campaign.