Former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville on Saturday criticized Jeff Sessions’ work as U.S. attorney general.
Tuberville spoke with the Alabama Political Reporter before Saturday’s Iron Bowl in Auburn.
“He had his chance to support the president as attorney general, and he blew it,” Tuberville said.
Sessions has praised President Donald Trump and vowed to support the president’s policies if he returns to the U.S. Senate, but the president has been very critical of Sessions’ efforts as attorney general, particularly his decision to recuse himself from the Russia collusion investigation.
Sessions recused himself from the probe after it became public knowledge that he had met twice with the Russian ambassador during the 2016 presidential campaign and did not disclose that to the Senate during his confirmation hearings. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein then became the acting attorney general on Russian collusion probe, and he made the decision to appoint former FBI director Robert Mueller as special counsel.
Trump blamed Sessions for the Mueller investigation, which the president believes could have been avoided if Sessions had simply not appointed a special counsel and investigated it in house, similar to Eric Holder’s handling of the ATF gun-running “Fast and Furious” scandal during the Barack Obama administration.
The president has gone so far as to call his appointment of Sessions as attorney general “my biggest mistake” as president.
Tuberville said that he will go to Washington and will support Trump in the Senate.
Tuberville was critical of “career politicians.”
Tuberville said that he has enjoyed campaigning across the state and compared it to football recruiting.
Tuberville said that the 24 hour a day talk radio coverage and 24 hour a day TV news coverage means that politics is always being focused on. Tuberville said that he had been doing TV and radio for years as a coach and was very comfortable dealing with the media.
Tuberville said that he did television for a year calling games as a broadcaster; and a lot of work goes into that. Each week you have to prepare for your game, “And memorize all of those players. If I am going to do all of that I might as well get back into coaching.”
Tuberville thought that the Auburn football team would face a stiff challenge from the University of Alabama Saturday.
“That quarterback at Alabama, Mac Jones, is really good,” Tuberville said.
The career football coach said that Auburn’s defense was really good; but expressed concerns about Auburn’s offense’s ability to score against Alabama.
Tuberville said of the Tide defense: “They are really young; but you can see the talent.”
Auburn would go on to defeat Alabama 48 to 45 in a game with multiple lead changes.
Tuberville is 65 years old and is a native of Camden Arkansas.
Tuberville was the head football coach at the University of Mississippi from 1995 to 1998. He is best known for his career at Auburn University from 1999 until 2008. After his brief tenure as a broadcaster he was the head coach at Texas Tech University from 2010 to 2012 and the University of Cincinnati from 2013 to 2016. He has a 159 and 99 record as a head coach.
Tuberville never won a national championship as a head coach, but his 2004 Auburn team went 13 and 0 and won the SEC Championship game. Tuberville won the Paul Bear Bryant Coach of the Year Award for that season. The University of Texas and the University of Southern California received the invites to the BCS national championship game. Auburn defeated Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl. This was before major college football had a playoff system.
Tuberville is a graduate of Southern Arkansas University. He and his wife Suzanne live in Auburn and have three sons.
In addition to Tuberville and Sessions; Ruth Page Nelson, State Representative Arnold Mooney, businessman Stanley Adair, Congressman Bradley Byrne, and former Chief Justice Roy Moore are all running for the Republican nomination for Senate.
Secretary of State John H. Merrill suspended his campaign for Senate on Sunday.
The Republican primary will be March 3.
The winner of the GOP primary will face Doug Jones in the general election.