WASHINGTON (AP) – President Bush sent a powerful message of support Tuesday for embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, calling his longtime friend to express unwavering support in the face of calls for his resignation.
The White House also denied reports that it was looking for possible successors for Gonzales. “Those rumors are untrue,” White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino said.
Bush called Gonzales from the Oval Office at 7:15 a.m. EDT and they spoke for several minutes about the political uproar over the firings of eight U.S. attorneys, an issue that has thrust the attorney general into controversy and raised questions about whether he can survive. The White House disclosed Bush’s call to bolster Gonzales and attempt to rally Republicans to support him.
“The president reaffirmed his strong backing of the attorney general and his support for him,” Perino said. “The president called him to reaffirm his support.”
Former House Republican Leader Tom DeLay had said earlier Tuesday that the scandal “is just a taste of what’s going to be like for the next two years.”
“And the Bush administration sort of showed their weakness when they got rid of Don Rumsfeld,” the Texan said on NBC’s “Today” show. “… This is a made up scandal. There is no evidence of wrongdoing whatsoever. … They ought to be fighting back.”
Tom DeLay is absolutely right. I was not crazy about President Bush’s choice of Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General; nonetheless, the President should come out guns blazing in his support of him.