President-elect Donald Trump’s chosen attorney general, Alabama Senator Jeffrey Sessions, was interrupted during his confirmation hearing on Tuesday by protesters in Ku Klux Klan robes.
As the men in the KKK robes were being removed, they shouted “You can’t arrest me, I am white!” and “White people own this government!” The two held signs reading ‘Go Jeffie boy!’ and ‘KKK #1.’
Sessions denied any affiliation with the hate group, stating “”I abhor the Klan and what it represents and its hateful ideology.”
Also removed from the hearing was a protester from Code Pink, a liberal activist group that held a sign reading: “Support civil rights, stop Sessions.” The protester was removed after shouting “His voting record is evil!” An African-American demonstrator was led from the hearing after yelling “stop this racist pig from getting into power!”
There has been concern about Session’s commitment to civil rights and the problems facing minorities in the country. Sessions defended himself against the allegations, saying he “understands the history of civil rights and the horrendous impact that relentless and systemic discrimination and the denial of voting rights has had on our African-American brothers and sisters.”
Democrats aren’t convinced, and point to Sessions past voting habits, most recently voting against an amendment declaring that the U.S. would not bar people entering the country on the basis of their religion.
The US attorney general is the country’s top prosecutor, and sessions will be responsible for leading the justice department and advising president-elect Trump on legal issues.