Tuberville draws pushback with comments on white nationalism

Tommy Tuberville

Senate leaders from both parties on Tuesday condemned white nationalism after Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) remarked in a CNN interview that it was a matter of opinion whether white nationalists are racist.

When asked about Tuberville’s remarks, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) condemned white supremacy: “White supremacy is simply unacceptable in the military and in our whole country.”

“For the Senator from Alabama to obscure the racist nature of white nationalism is indeed very, very dangerous. … He is fanning the flames of bigotry and intolerance,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday.

CNN reported Senate Republican Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) said, “I am not sure exactly what he [Tuberville] was trying to say there,” and, “I mean I would just say that there is no place for white nationalism in our party, and I think that is kind of full stop.”

Tuberville had told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins on Monday that “white nationalist” is “just a cover word for the Democrats now where they can use it to try to make people mad across the country.”

The senator, who has recently faced intense criticism for his hold on confirming Pentagon nominees, also said, “If people think that a white nationalist is a racist, I agree with that.”

When Collins said that a white nationalist is “someone who believes that the white race is superior to other races,” Tuberville responded, “Well, that’s some people’s opinion.”

He also said, “My opinion of a white nationalist, if somebody wants to call them a white nationalist, to me, is an American. … Now, if that white nationalist is a racist, I’m totally against anything that they want to do because I am 110 percent against racism.”

According to CNN, Tuberville later told reporters on Tuesday that “white nationalists are racist.”

Background This comes after similar comments from Tuberville in May, when he was asked on a local NPR station in Alabama whether white nationalists should be allowed to serve in the military.

“Well, they call them that,” Tuberville said. “I call them Americans.” His office said after that incident that Tuberville was “being skeptical of the notion that there are white nationalists in the military, not that he believes they should be in the military.”

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