Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday joined a chant calling to “lock her up” — a sentiment to imprison Democrat Hillary Clinton — when he spoke at a conservative high school leadership summit in Washington, DC.
The top law enforcement officer in the country, Sessions chuckled after pausing a speech that mocked crying liberal “snowflakes” who needed “tissues” after the 2016 election.
Many Republicans, including President Donald Trump, have entertained the idea of prosecuting Clinton for using a private email server when she was secretary of state, raising questions about whether the administration would seek to punish political rivals.
Federal law enforcement officials have said in the past her missteps don’t merit prosecution. But the remarks from Sessions take on a sharper edge, given that, as head of the Department of Justice, he actually could prosecute Clinton.
Sessions had been deriding progressive students and the institutions that enable them during his speech Tuesday at Turning Point USA’s High School Leadership Summit at George Washington University when the chant broke out.
“Too many schools are coddling young people and actively preventing them from scrutinizing the validity of their beliefs and the issues of the day,” he said. “That is the exact opposite of what we expect from our universities in this country. I hope they had plenty of tissues for them to cry on. They had therapy dogs at the University of Kansas. They had Play-Doh and coloring books at the great University of Michigan, for heaven’s sakes. I thought that was, you know, give me a break. Students at Tufts were encouraged to draw out their feelings. Well, I can tell this group isn’t going to have to have Play-Doh when you get attacked in college and you get involved in a debate. You’re going to stand up, and defend yourselves and the values that you believe in.”
“I like this bunch,” he continued. “I gotta tell ya. You’re not going to be backing down. Go get ’em. Go get ’em.”
The comment drew a “lock her up” chant from the crowd, and Sessions chimed in with “lock her up” before laughing and noting it was a popular refrain during Trump’s run for president. Yet the slogan has persevered into Trump’s presidency, raising questions about whether the administration would seek to punish his adversaries.
“Rather than molding a generation of mature, well-informed adults, some schools are doing everything they can to create a generation of sanctimonious, sensitive, supercilious snowflakes,” Sessions continued. “We’re not gonna have it.”
BuzzFeed News asked the Department of Justice to comment on why Sessions joined the chant, whether he believed Clinton violated any laws, and if he believed she should be prosecuted and jailed. A spokesperson for the department declined to comment.