Midway through Jeff Sessions’ contentious confirmation hearing Tuesday, the Attorney General nominee said something surprising: He considers the unwanted grabbing of a woman by her genitals to be a crime.
It’s actually a bit of a turnaround for Sessions, who just two months ago defended Donald Trump, who was caught on tape in 2005 bragging that he is allowed to grab women “by the pussy” because of his wealth and fame.
“I’m automatically attracted to beautiful [women]—I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait,” Trump said in the leaked audio. “And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything... Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”
At the time, Sessions defended the admission, telling the Weekly Standard, “I don’t characterize that as sexual assault. I think that’s a stretch.”
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But now that he’s under oath and trying to get confirmation from the Senate, the self-proclaimed non-racist is singing a different tune.
“My question is very simple,” Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy asked during the hearing Tuesday afternoon. “Is grabbing a woman by the genitals without her consent sexual assault?”
And here is what Jeff Sessions said: “Yes.”
To be fair, Sessions, a man once deemed too racist to be a federal judge, probably doesn’t see Trump’s admission as one performed without consent. But let’s give credit where credit is due—for example, he also hasn’t used the n-word in the hearing. There’s much to be proud of him for today, relatively speaking.