South Carolina Senator Jeff Sessions was officially sworn-in as US attorney general by Vice President Mike Pence Thursday in the Oval Office.
Calling him a “man of integrity” and “total, utter resolve,” President Donald Trump said Sessions’ Department of Justice would be directed to address criminal drug cartels, help reduce violent crime, and stop crimes against police.
“Today’s ceremony should be seen as a clear message to the gang members and drug dealers terrorizing innocent people,” Trump said in comments ahead of Sessions’ swearing in. “Your day is over. A new era of justice begins and it begins right now.”
In his first official speech as attorney general, Sessions swore he would lead the DOJ to focus “on preserving and protecting the Constitution and the safety of this country.
Check out Sessions’ speech transcribed below:
Mr. President thank you for this great honor. It’s something I never expected would happen in my life.
But I do love the DOJ. I care about its traditions and its heritage. I had 15 years in that great department and the honor to lead it now is something that I do not have words to express effectively.
There are a lot of things we need to do.
First we need to value and support and encourage the fabulous people that work there. I’ve worked with them over the years. I know how good they are and their talents need to be directed at this nation’s benefit in a lot of different ways.
We have a crime problem. I wish the rise we are seeing in crime in America today were some sort of aberration, or blip.
My best judgement having been involved in criminal law enforcement for many years is that this is a dangerous permanent trend. It places the health and safety of the American people at risk.
We will deploy the talents and abilities of the DOJ in the most effective way possible to confront this rise in crime and to protect the people of our country.
We have an increased threat – since I was US attorney – from terrorism, Mr. President. You’ve spoken firmly on that. You’ve led this nation to say we are going to respond effectively to the threat of terrorism, and you can count on your DOJ to do so in an effective way.
And you said something that I believe, and I think the American people believe, that we need a lawful system of immigration, one that serves the interest of the people of the United States.
That’s not wrong, that’s not immoral, that’s not indecent.
We admit a million people a year plus lawfully, and we need to end this lawlessness that threatens the public safety and pulls down wages of working Americans.
It is an honor beyond words to serve under you and your leadership. You’re putting together a great cabinet which is just a thrill for me to have the opportunity to join, and I look forward to making sure that every ounce of strength I have and that the people of the DOJ have is going to be focused on preserving and protecting the Constitution and the safety of this country.
We will defend the laws of this country as passed by Congress. We’ll defend the lawful orders of the POTUS with vigor and determination.
Thank you all for being here, I see a lot of good friends, and may God bless all our efforts.