Sally Yates this week became a notable asterisk in Washington’s descent into bipolar political chaos, galvanizing a left wing that sees her as a hero and a right wing that views her as a pariah.
Yates, the longtime Atlanta prosecutor, was summarily fired by President Donald Trump late Monday after 10 days as acting U.S. attorney general. A few hours earlier, she had instructed Justice Department lawyers not to defend Trump’s executive order barring refugees’ entry into the country.
By Tuesday, Georgia Democrats were sizing up Yates for statewide office, and Georgia Republicans were denouncing her as a political hack. Yates, 56, is now expected to return to her native Atlanta, where she served for 25 years as a corruption-busting federal prosecutor.
Just hours after Yates found herself unemployed, numerous Democrats, from rank-and-file activists to veteran strategists, joined the chorus of those trying to recruit her to run for statewide office. Many cast Yates as a unifying figure who could raise mounds of campaign cash and appeal to independent voters.
Another tidbit: Her sister is a conservative radio talk show host in Birmingham.