House Speaker Paul Ryan and other Republican leaders still reluctant to endorse presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump need to "listen and accept the will" of GOP voters — or face getting voted out of office, Sen. Jeff Sessions says.
In an interview on Politico's "Off Message"
podcast, the Alabama lawmaker — an early backer of the real estate billionaire
— says Republican lawmakers have to "adjust to reality."
"I think [Ryan] needs to recognize, on some of these issues, Trump is where the Republicans are and if you're going to be a Republican leader you should be supportive of that," he said.
"My advice is to listen and accept the will of the American people," he said. "The Republican voters — the Republican Party is the Republican voters … A lot of our drift within our party has gotten away from [the will of the voters] … I think the leaders in all parties tend to adjust to reality. They just have to or they won't remain in office … Already many are sensing it."
Sessions is especially supportive of Trump's positions on trade, and tells Politico a vote for the Trans-Pacific Partnership by his colleagues in the Senate, where the legislation is currently stalled, could be a career-ender, warning, "I think they would have a hard time getting elected."
He also argues that Mitt Romney's loss in 2012 came because he failed to reach the "under-$50,000-a-year income voter" — and Trump is resonating with that same bloc.
"You cannot be president of the United States if people below $50,000 don't think you care about them and you have no real communication that motivates them to vote for you," he said. "And that's the trend we've been on, and Trump has broken that."
He also believes Trump "is going to appeal better to African-Americans, Hispanics, and others than previous Republican candidates because he's talking about what they want: a fair chance to have a better life economically."
"I just don't think there's that many people who think it's wrong to have control on our borders. That's not racism," he said, adding: "How do you appeal to Hispanics and African-Americans that we've not done well with at all? Is it by saying we're going to have open borders and more welfare?"
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