Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions made jokes about his recent departure from the White House during a speech at an awards dinner in Chicago.
Sessions cracked wise while delivering a keynote speech to Illinois law enforcement officials on Wednesday, Nov. 28, at the Chicago Crime Commission, a private group advocating for effective crime-fighting laws.
The former Attorney General made light of his recent ouster, joking about being given a “pink slip.”
“Well, a lot has changed since my visit here a few months ago, about a month ago, actually,” Sessions told the audience at the annual Stars of Distinction awards dinner.
“I got a new title,” he said, and then pointedly added “former,” setting the audience chuckling.
“A lot of people have gotten pink slips I guess,” Session continued, “but mine’s a little more public than most!”
President Donald Trump asked for Sessions’s resignation shortly after the midterm elections earlier this month. Trump had criticized Sessions for his decision to recuse himself from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed to conduct the investigation by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstien, who took charge in the wake of Sessions’s recusal.
Trump’s frustration with Sessions peaked in August, when he told Fox News in an interview that the now-former attorney general had failed to tackle alleged DOJ corruption, with Trump saying he “never took control of the Justice Department.”
About a year earlier, Trump asked on Twitter, “So why aren’t the Committees and investigators, and of course our beleaguered A.G., looking into Crooked Hillarys crimes & Russia relations?” with “A.G.” referring to Sessions.
‘Blessed In My Life’
The former Attorney General expressed warm feelings toward the president on Wednesday.
“I really enjoyed the honor, and appreciate the president allowing me to serve almost two years in one of the greatest jobs in the world,” he said. “I’m satisfied and fulfilled, I think, with what we were able to accomplish. And I’m excited for those who will continue to lead the great department.”
In his remarks, Sessions echoed previous statements, when he said that he was “blessed in my life” for the opportunity of public service.
“It is an honor I never expected nor one I ever would have thought possible,” Sessions said at The International Law Enforcement Academy Graduation ceremony in July, 2017. “And while there are good days and bad days in any job, one thing has been clear to me, it is a privilege to serve one’s country in law enforcement to wake up each morning and fight the fight for the rule of law.”
Sessions submitted his resignation letter on Nov. 7, after which Trump issued a statement, saying “we thank Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his service, and wish him well! A permanent replacement will be nominated at a later date.”
Sessions was replaced on a temporary basis by his chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, of whom Trump said in a statement, “He will serve our country well.”
Whitaker’s appointment has been the subject of intense scrutiny owing to critical statements he had made regarding Mueller’s investigation.