GOP senator says calling white nationalists racist is an ‘opinion’

Chuck Schumer says ‘The senator from Alabama is wrong, wrong, wrong’

Eric Garcia
Tuesday 11 July 2023 16:45 BST
Tommy Tuberville grilled on CNN about his stance on white nationalists

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Louise Thomas

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Sen Tommy Tuberville has doubled down on his defence of white nationalists serving in the US military, saying that labeling them as racist is an “opinion”.

In a CNN interview on Monday, host Kaitlan Collins asked the Alabama Republican about comments he made in May when a WBHM host asked him about white nationalists serving in the military and he said “well, they call them that, I call them Americans.”

Mr Tuberville stood by those remarks even when presented with the definition of a white nationalist as someone who believes white people are superior to other races. He replied: “Well, that’s some people’s opinion.”

The senator insisted he is opposed to any type of racism, saying he deals with people of multiple races, but said that Democrats attacked the US military after the January 6 riot on Capitol Hill. He also criticised remarks from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer about white nationalism.

“I thought it was I thought it was outrageous of what senators from the Democratic side, Chuck Schumer said on the floor that night calling out people calling people racist, calling people nationalists, white nationalists, white nationalists, is just another word that they want to use, other than racism,” he said.

“I'm totally against anything to do with racism. But the thing about being a 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 with identity politics. I'm totally against that.”

Ms Collins pressed if he agreed that white nationalists should serve in the US military.

“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.”

On Tuesday, Mr Schumer criticised Mr Tuberville’s remarks in a Senate floor speech.

“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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