Note: I sent this letter to President Trump earlier this month.
I am writing you to express my sincere disappointment in your decision to ask your attorney general to resign. I believe you have a fundamental misunderstanding of the role of the attorney general and his legal and ethical obligations. You have an overinflated sense of what “loyalty” means, and that was an unfair and impossible standard for a good and ethical man like Jeff Sessions. Frankly, I think Sessions should have forced you to fire him instead of resigning.
Many Republicans disagreed with Sessions recusing himself from the Russian interference investigation, but this was not a lack of loyalty to you or the party. This was not Sessions refusing to do his job, despite some simple-minded Republicans saying he should be on a milk carton. Sessions has been working hard for two years to implement your law-and-order agenda, especially your policies on illegal immigration and your concerns about aggressive federal oversight of law enforcement.
Mr. Trump, the reason Sessions recused himself is because he believes he was ethically obligated to do so. He did not want to have the conflict of interest in overseeing an investigation of a campaign he was involved in, especially since he would be ultimately investigating himself. You can disagree with that decision, and I have seen well-crafted arguments as to why that recusal was a mistake. But the fact of the matter is that the reason Sessions recused himself is he is a man of great integrity and steadfast principles. Eric Holder was Barack Obama’s self-professed wingman, but you chose a man who holds tightly to ethical standards and the rule of law.
Mr. Trump, your lack of loyalty to one of your earliest supporters is very disappointing, especially since Sessions was one of the key supporters in the early stages of your campaign. He has been a Trump loyalist from the beginning and your lack of gratitude for that is something that is morally wrong. You put Sessions in an untenable position. He gave up a U.S. Senate seat for you, a seat that Republicans would still hold if he said “no” to your offer. For that, and for his loyalty to you, Sessions has been attacked and undermined by the very President who appointed him. Sessions has been forced out of office because you took a difference on policy way too personally. This is a sad situation.