WASHINGTON (AP) — Protesters disrupted Sen. Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearing for attorney general on Tuesday, including two men wearing Ku Klux Klan costumes and a woman wearing a pink crown.
The conservative Alabama senator, who is Donald Trump’s pick for the nation’s top law enforcement official, faces concerns over how committed he would be to civil rights.
The disruptions occurred during the morning session of his hearing. As Capitol Police took the men wearing white hoods and sheets out of the Senate hearing room, they yelled, “you can’t arrest me, I am white!” and “white people own this government!” They held up hand signs saying, “Go Jeffie Boy!” and “KKK.”
Also removed was at least one protester from the liberal group Code Pink, who held a sign that said, “Support civil rights, stop Sessions.” Wearing a pink crown modeled on the Statue of Liberty, she shouted, “his voting record is evil.”
Civil liberties advocates have expressed concerns about Sessions’ voting record and his appearances before groups that espouse harsh views on Muslims and immigrants. The Alabama Republican was rejected for a federal judgeship by the Senate Judiciary Committee 30 years ago amid accusations of racial insensitivity.
Seeking to address those concerns, Sessions said in a prepared opening statement that he “understands the history of civil rights and the horrendous impact that relentless and systemic discrimination and the denial of voting rights has had on our African-American brothers and sisters.”