Sen. Jeff Sessions acknowledged Sunday that Donald Trump had a “rough week” as a result of his comments about a federal judge of Mexican heritage but expressed confidence that he’s the best presidential candidate on national security, in the aftermath of the Orlando mass shooting that apparently has links to Islamic terrorism.
The Alabama lawmaker, among Trump’s strongest advocates, told “Fox News Sunday” that the comments got Trump “off message” but that he will use “whatever force is necessary” to defeat the radical extremists around the world.
The judge presiding over a civil fraud case against Trump University real estate school was born in the United States but his parents are from Mexico. Trump has suggested the judge could be bias, considering some of Trump’s controversial remarks about illegal Mexican immigrants.
Sessions, one of Congress’s biggest critics of amnesty and open-border policies, also said Sunday that the country must be careful about how many people it allows inside its borders and that officials must be sure they can vet them properly.
Trump, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, called for a temporary ban on Muslims into the United States, following several terror attacks linked to Islamic extremism.
Sessions said Sunday that he thinks more such attacks are coming.
“It’s a real part of the threat we face,” he told Fox. “And if we can’t address it openly and directly, and say directly, that there is an extremist element within Islam, that’s dangerous to the world.”
Sessions, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, also said the panel recently found that more than 570 people have been convicted or charged in connection with terrorism since the 9-11 strikes that killed nearly 3,000 people on U.S. soil.
“It’s not stopping,” he said. “We see it coming today.”
Sessions also said two-thirds of those people are foreign born and “almost all Islamic individuals.”
“There is an extremist element within Islam, that’s dangerous to the world and has to be confronted,” said Session, who also leads that panel’s subcommittee on immigration. “We need to slow down and be careful about those we admit into the country.”