Far-right activist David Horowitz said of Senator Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearing for Attorney General, “You will see a witch-hunt worse than anything McCarthy did directed by Democrats against Jeff Sessions.” Hardly, but the first day of the hearing featured effusive praise for Horowitz himself.
Horowitz is a quite repugnant individual. He argues the most racist people in the United States are “black racists.” His organization, the David Horowitz Freedom Center, is a key part of a network promoting fear of Muslims in America.
Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal asked Sessions about remarks he made in 2003, where he praised Horowitz as a man he admired. He confronted Sessions with remarks from Horowitz, such as, “All the major Muslim organizations in America are connected to the Muslim Brotherhood,” and, “Eighty percent of mosques are filled with hate against Jews and Americans.”
He noted Horowitz said, “Too many blacks are in prison because too many blacks commit crimes.”
Sessions acted as if he had no idea Horowitz is the kind of person who makes these sort of remarks, even though this is a hallmark of his reactionary advocacy.
“I read his brilliant book—what’s the name of it? I have a hard time remembering it, but his transformation, having grown up in a, as he described it, a communist family. He was editor of Ramparts magazine, the radical magazine,” Sessions stated. “I believe ‘Radical Son’ was the name of his book. It was a really powerful and moving story of how he moved from the unprincipled totalitarian radical left to a more traditional America person.”
Given the history of white supremacy in America, perhaps, that is what makes Horowitz a “traditional America person.” But few would embrace Horowitz’s ideology about blacks being inherently criminal because of their race as typical thinking of an average person. Nor would they suggest his extremely paranoid views about Muslims are normal to Americans.
Sessions added, “He’s a most brilliant individual and has a remarkable story.”
When pressed further by Blumenthal, Sessions insisted, “I don’t believe David Horowitz is a racist or person that could treat anyone improperly, at least, to my knowledge.”
Sessions grew frustrated as he was asked about support for other far-right individuals like Frank Gaffney. Asked if there was any person or organization he wished to take this opportunity to disavow, Sessions answered, “I don’t know if I defer to the Southern Poverty Law center as final authority on who is a radical group.”
He again had praise for Horowitz and said he was a “brilliant writer,” who “contributed to the policy debate.”
As to what policy debates, Sessions did not offer any specifics. But Horowitz’s focus for the past fifteen to twenty years was to counter what he views as the radical left by demonizing college professors with toxic smears and to spread fear of Islam to turn more and more Americans against the presence of Muslims in America.
It is alarming that the next Attorney General may be someone, who sees Horowitz as a “brilliant” and inspirational figure, especially when one considers what law enforcement actions may flow from such harmful ideology.