Local 24 News political analyst and commentator Otis Sanford shares his point of view on Acting U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker’s Tennessee visits.
Acting U.S. attorney general Matthew Whitaker has been a harsh critic of the Robert Mueller investigation into the links between President Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia. As such, Whitaker has been under heavy scrutiny and criticism since the President named him acting AG after firing the much-beleaguered Jeff Sessions.
This week, the Mueller investigation picked up steam with yet another guilty plea. So, what does Whitaker do? Get out of Washington, of course, for what amounts to a Justice Department public relations tour.
Wednesday, Whitaker was in Memphis to announce a new Gun Crime Strike Force. And Thursday he made a brief stop in Nashville to tout the administration’s efforts to fight the opioid epidemic. At both stops, Whitaker made prepared remarks, then left without taking questions from the news media. Because no doubt at least some of those questions would have focused on the Mueller investigation.
None of this means that the issues Whitaker was addressing are bogus. Without question, Memphis has a serious problem with gun violence. And this initiative involving federal agents and Memphis police will target violent street criminals along with those who traffic in illegal gun sales. And of course, the opioid crisis statewide is equally serious and even more deadly.
Still, it just seems to me that Whitaker’s Tennessee appearances, without taking questions, were more about image and making a timely escape from Washington than anything else. And that’s my point of view.