Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the nation's chief law enforcement official, appeared to encourage impromptu chants of "Lock her up" Tuesday, reviving a rallying cry from supporters of Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign about their desired punishment for his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, over her use of a private email server.
Sessions was addressing a conservative group's high school leadership summit in Washington, where he discussed the perceived rejection of free speech on college campuses and conservative principles. At a gathering organized by Turning Point USA, the Attorney General slammed universities for "coddling our young people" and "actively preventing them from scrutinizing the validity of their beliefs."
"After the 2016 election, for example, they held a 'cry-in' at Cornell. I hope they had plenty of tissues for 'em to cry on," he said. "They had therapy dogs at the University of Kansas, and Play-Doh and coloring books at the University of Michigan for heaven's sakes. You know, give me a break. Students at Tufts were encouraged to 'draw about their feelings.'"
"Rather than molding a generation of mature and well-informed adults, some schools are doing everything they can to create a generation of sanctimonious, sensitive, supercilious snowflakes," he continued, invoking the term often used by conservatives to pejoratively describe liberals protesting against Trump.
"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," Sessions told the audience at Turning Point USA's High School Leadership Summit at George Washington University. "I like this bunch, I gotta tell you. You're not going to be backing down. Go get 'em. Go get 'em."
The crowd then erupted into "Lock her up!" chants.
"Lock her up," Sessions said, chuckling at the brief interruption from the crowd as the shouts grew louder.
"I heard that a long time over the last campaign," he said before continuing with his prepared remarks.
"Lock her up" was a major slogan among Trump supporters heard at Trump campaign rallies in reference to Clinton's use of a private email server when she was secretary of state and Trump's insistence that she be prosecuted for the offense.
Concluding an investigation into Clinton's handling of classified information while she was secretary of state, then-FBI Director James Comey recommended in 2016 that no criminal charges be filed against Clinton, and the U.S. Attorney General at the time, Loretta Lynch, said the Justice Department would not pursue charges against Clinton.
Trump has denounced Sessions for not picking up a new investigation into Clinton's deleted emails and publicly blasted him for being "very weak" on Clinton's "crimes." Under fire from Trump, Sessions eventually appointed federal prosecutor John Lausch to investigate various matters surrounding Clinton.