President Donald Trump has a proven track record of paying extremely close attention to his favorite TV shows, to the point that a Fox guest or host’s televised advice can trigger him to dramatically upend his own party and team’s calculated strategy and stance.
These are television shows that often have more direct influence and impact on Trump than many of his senior staffers or top officials. And now, many of the president’s all-time favorite hosts and media personalities are telling him, over and over again, to get rid of Attorney General Jeff Sessions as quickly as humanly possible.
“It’s clear Jeff Sessions is more concerned with his career than the good of America. That said, it’s high time President Trump fires his ineffective attorney general,” Eric Bolling, a close Trump friend and a former Fox News personality, told The Daily Beast on Monday. “I would NOT, however, fire [special counsel Robert] Mueller. For no other reason than political optics.”
He was hardly the only one calling for Sessions’ head for his alleged failure to protect Trump due to the attorney general’s recusal from the Russia probe. According to several people who speak regularly to Trump, the president still keeps polling his inner circle and allies for their take on what he should do about Sessions, all the while highlighting what he views as Sessions’ weaknesses, failings, and annoying qualities.
And nowhere is Trump’s fury on this better reflected and projected than on his preferred conservative media behemoth.
For her Labor Day weekend episode of Justice With Judge Jeanine, Fox News host Jeanine Pirro dedicated her opening monologue to personally and professionally trashing Trump’s attorney general as a witless “shill” and as a pathetic enabler of supposed “corruption by the Democrats.”
Her overarching message to Sessions was: Nobody likes you, nerd.
“What don’t you get? Have you no self-esteem, self-regard, self-respect? Where is your dignity? Why would you stay in a job where you’re not wanted?… And why do you continue to stay?” Pirro said in her lengthy “Opening Statement” on the program. “You’re so clueless you don’t even know you’re being used. You don’t even know you’re nothing but a shill. In fact, the only constituency that wants you is the ‘Deep State’… Are you proud of yourself?”
“Are you kidding? All of America knows the DOJ continues to be to be influenced by politics," she added. "You need to do one of two things: Resign immediately, because you are not wanted. Or put on your big boy pants and be a real attorney general.”
Pirro is a longtime friend and ally of Trump’s, and she had even been interviewed during the Trump presidential transition for the job of deputy attorney general. The president watches her weekend show routinely, and Pirro stands in the same Trumpworld echelon as someone like Sean Hannity, another Fox star who doubles as a confidant and top outside adviser to Trump.
Keeping with the trend, Fox Business star Lou Dobbs—whom Trump values and trusts so much that he has put Dobbs on speakerphone during multiple Oval Office meetings with senior officials —tweeted out “#SessionsMustGo” late last week, attaching a clip of him and Pirro going after Sessions.
“You have to appreciate the president's sense of humor. He tweeted out that Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s job is safe—that he will not fire him before the midterm elections,” Dobb said, noting that that is not many days of guaranteed job security.
On Saturday morning, Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett appeared on Fox & Friends, which has become hugely influential in the Trump era because it’s one of the president’s must-see shows, and said, “I think after the election, Jeff Sessions will be fired. And I would suggest somebody like John Ratcliffe [R-Texas] to replace him.”
Jarrett, author of the Trump-exonerating book The Russia Hoax, is yet another trusted television favorite of the sitting president. Trump will often approvingly and enthusiastically quote Jarrett on his frenetic Twitter feed, including in a flurry of tweets posted on Labor Day weekend.
Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney and the former mayor of New York City, told The Daily Beast that Jarrett was “just guessing” regarding if or when Sessions would be sacked. Giuliani didn’t elaborate or weigh in further, except to say that The Russia Hoax is a “great book.”
Guessing or not, it is a deafeningly loud drumbeat that has picked up in recent weeks in Trumpworld, and in no small part because of President Trump, who has publicly and privately demeaned Sessions, an immigration-hardliner, on a near-constant basis since last year.
“I just would love to have him do a great job,” Trump told Bloomberg during an Oval Office interview on Thursday. When asked if he would keep Sessions in the job past November, Trump dodged, stating, “I’d love to have him look at the other [Democratic] side” instead.
“I do question, what is Jeff doing?” Trump added.
Numerous frustrated friends and loyalists of the president are doing the same.