Jeff Sessions seems to have realized that joining a chant of “lock her up!” about the president of the United States’ former political opponent who has neither been charged nor convicted of a crime, might not be the best look for the U.S. attorney general.
Sessions was speaking to a group of conservative high-school students at a conference organized by the pro-Trump group Turning Point USA this week when they spontaneously started shouting the three-word refrain that was a staple of Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign rallies and has somehow persisted well into his presidency.
Instead of ignoring it—or perhaps even shutting it down—Sessions laughed and seemingly joined in.
“Lock her up,” he repeated, adding, “I heard that a long time over the last campaign.”
Asked about the incident during a press availability on Thursday, Sessions said, “Well, I met with a group of enthusiastic high-school students, and they enthusiastically broke into that chant.”
“I perhaps should have taken a moment to advise them of the fact of things I mentioned today,” the country’s top law enforcement official added, “that you’re presumed innocent until cases are made.”
Michael Flynn proudly joined the chant from the Republican National Convention stage in July 2016. “You know why we’re saying that?” he asked at the time. “We’re saying that because if I, a guy who knows this business, if I did a tenth, a tenth of what she did, I would be in jail today.” Six months later, the former national security advisor plead guilty to lying to federal investigators.
On the campaign trail, Trump similarly endorsed the “lock her up!” chants about Hillary Clinton, telling a crowd that same month, “I’ve been saying ‘Let’s just beat her on November 8th,’ but you know what, I’m starting to agree with you.”
More recently, Trump has bristled at the idea of someone being “falsely accused,” at least when it is someone on his team. After White House aide Rob Porter faced allegations of domestic abuse earlier this year, the president tweeted, “Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?”