Hard-line immigration Senator Jeff Sessions has dealt a major blow to the campaign of fellow Republican Senator Ted Cruz to become his party’s Presidential candidate by giving his endorsement to rival and frontrunner Donald Trump.
The Alabama Senator, who engenders respect from both sides of politics, has never given an endorsement to a Presidential candidate before, but has long been an ally of Cruz, which gives his surprise decision to endorse Trump even more of an impact.
“Politicians have promised for 30 years to fix illegal immigration,” the Washington Post reports Sessions as saying. “Have they done it? Donald Trump will do it. I’ve told Donald Trump this isn’t a campaign, this is a movement.” Cruz has long touted Sessions as being an ally in his camp, making the latter’s move a major victory for Trump.
Before last week, the maverick real estate billionaire had been unable to secure endorsements from any major political figure, but on Friday he gained his first, from the Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie, who up until recently had also been running for the Republican Presidential candidacy. Christie’s endorsement was swiftly followed by another from fellow anti-immigrant hard-liner Jan Brewer, former Governor of Arizona, but Sessions’ endorsement is by far the most significant to date.
The campaigns by Cruz and Senator Marco Rubio could now be in trouble, with Sessions’ endorsement an indication that the Republican establishment, which has previously been set against Trump winning the nomination, might now be changing gears and getting behind their frontrunner.