GOP senator says he can’t be racist because he’s a football coach – after white nationalist comments

Tommy Tuberville often prefers to be called ‘coach’ in the Senate hallways rather than Senator

Independent Staff
Thursday 13 July 2023 02:56 BST
Tommy Tuberville grilled on CNN about his stance on white nationalists

Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) denied that he is a racist based on the premise that he coached college football for years and worked with many people of colour even as he faces criticisms about his comments regarding white nationalism.

Mr Tuberville served as head coach of four major Division I NCAA football teams, including the University of Mississippi, the University of Cincinnati, Texas Tech University and Auburn University, which is based in Alabama.

A reporter for NBC News asked him about his previous comments about white nationalism.

“I mean, everybody’s got a different – but I’m not getting into definitions,” he said. “I am totally against any form of racism. I always have been. I was a football coach. I’ve dealt with more minorities than everybody in this building. And so, I treated everybody with respect and made sure everybody had full opportunity.”

Mr Tuberville’s comments come after an interview with CNN on Monday evening where host Kaitlan Collins asked him about his comments to WBHM in May where, referring to white nationalists, he said “Well, they call them that, I call them Americans.”

When Collins asked about his remarks and evidence that white nationalists are racists, he said “Well, that’s some people’s opinion.”

“If people think that a white nationalist is racist, I agree with that,” he said. “My opinion of a white nationalist, if someone wants to call them white nationalists, 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 per cent against racism.”

In response, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer chastised Mr Tuberville.

“The senator from Alabama is wrong, wrong, wrong,” he said. “The definition of white nationalism is not a matter of opinion.”

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