HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, speaking at an Independence Day program at an Alabama church, said critics shouldn’t “demoralize” the country even if America didn’t immediately meet its ideal of equality.
“I believe we need to teach our young people the unique history of America, and cannot, cannot allow the left to demoralize the founding of the greatest country in the history of the world,” Sessions said Sunday.
Sessions said the country was founded on high ideals that all people are created equal.
“The fact that all of those ideals weren’t then accomplished immediately doesn’t in any way demoralize the founding of our country,” he said.
Sessions spoke at an Independence Day program at First Baptist Church of Huntsville. He sat on stage answering questions from pastor Travis Collins, such as queries about the role of faith in public service.
Sessions represented Alabama in the U.S. Senate for 20 years before being tapped to be then-President Donald Trump’s first attorney general. Trump later asked Sessions to resign when their relationship soured over his recusal from the Russia investigation. Sessions sought to reclaim the Senate seat last year, but lost the Republican nomination to former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville, who went on to win the seat.
Sessions, as he has in previous speeches, joked about being removed as Trump’s attorney general.
“A lot of people get fired, I just got fired more publicly than most people,” Sessions said.
The program was steeped in patriotism and faith and Sessions largely steered clear of specific policy discussions. Speaking before the Baptist congregation, he did address what he called an “encroachment” on religion and discussed the Trump administration’s decision to intervene on behalf of a baker who refused to make a cake for a same-sex couple.
“You shouldn’t be required to participate in a ceremony he thinks is wrong,” Sessions said.
Asked about criticism he faced, Sessions said it comes with the territory in public office and has throughout America’s history.
“I had this perverse view I would just try to do what was right, defend it as best I can and not worry about it,” Sessions said.