It was expected that Monday’s confirmation hearings for Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, who President-elect Donald Trump nominated for attorney general, would be highly controversial, but you probably didn’t expect any references to the Boston Red Sox.
Sessions has a history of voting and speaking out against legal immigration, LGBTQ issues, women’s issues and was denied a federal judgeship in Alabama in 1986 for making racist comments, so, needless to say, there are plenty of senators who aren’t on board with his nomination. Rhode Island’s Sheldon Whitehouse was one of those senators, and his particular gripe was about comments Sessions made about Dominicans in 2006.
When it was Whitehouse’s turn to take the floor, he alluded to now-retired Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz to make his point.
“We have a vibrant Dominican community, who look at Big Papi, David Ortiz, swinging his bat for the Red Sox, and wonder why you said, ‘Almost no one coming from the Dominican Republic to the United States is coming here because they have a provable skill that would benefit us,’” Whitehouse said, per WEEI.com’s John Tomase.
Sessions said he was referring to immigrants who come to the U.S. using family connections.
“The immigration flow from almost all of our countries, frankly, is based on family connection and other visas, rather than a skill-based program, more like Canada has today,” Sessions said, per Tomase. “And that’s all I intended to be saying there. … Please don’t see that as a diminishment or a criticism of the people of the Dominican Republic.”
Most of the U.S.’s Dominican population — nearly 80 percent, per the Pew Research Center — resides in the Northeast, and Massachusetts and Rhode Island, in particular, boast a large number, so Sessions’ comments likely won’t go over too well in Red Sox territory.
Thumbnail photo via Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports Images