With a headline like that, whatever we might write here will surely reflect poorly on Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), right? Good, because he deserves some poor reflecting. And you don't have to take our word for it; we can let him hang himself. The Senator sat for an interview with his local NPR affiliate, and was asked: "You mentioned the Biden administration trying to prevent white nationalists from being in the military. Do you believe they should allow white nationalists in the military?" This was his reply:
Well, they call them that. I call them Americans. What happened after January the sixth—and I was here on January the sixth—we were attacked on the Senate floor. Saying all these people that came into the Capitol were extremists, they were against the country. There was a lot of people. There were probably a hundred of them that came in, broke windows and broke doors that should have been locked up. That's not how we do it in America. But there were hundreds of thousands that didn't come in, outside, that were true Americans that believe in this country. But right after that, we, our military and Secretary Austin, put out an order to stand down and all military across the country, saying we're going to run out the white nationalists, people that don't believe how we believe. And that's not how we do it in this country. We have got so much division up here that, not for the country. You know, this is not for any individual, this country. This country is for all of us. And we're all the same. It doesn't make any difference if you're rich, poor, black, white. It doesn't make any difference. Everybody's an American, has opportunity to make this country better. We've made it 247 years. But I'm going to tell you what, we're walking a tightrope right now, at how much longer this country is going to make it, as we all know it.
Nobody is going to confuse Tuberville with, say, Thomas Jefferson when it comes to talent for expressing ideas. That said, it would seem that the Senator believes we cannot be running white nationalists out of the armed forces because the country's already divided enough. Very sensible—if you want to heal the national divide, you can't be making scapegoats out of people just because they happen to believe their race is superior to the rest, right? Much better to keep them as armed, active members of a military force that is, these days, 43% non-white.
As soon as the interview aired, Tuberville's staff knew they had a problem. And so a spokesperson got on the phone with AL.com to explain what the Senator really meant: "Sen. Tuberville's quote that is cited shows that he was being skeptical of the notion that there are white nationalists in the military, not that he believes they should be in the military."
That, if we may say so, is horse crap. First of all, there was a Pentagon report in 2020 that revealed that white supremacists had made significant inroads into the U.S. Armed Forces. That would be the same 2020 where Donald Trump was still president and the Dept. of Defense was being run by Republican appointees, so this news wasn't some sort of commie socialist pinko CRT antifa wokeness. And Tuberville is certainly not in a position to know the composition of the Armed Forces better than the Pentagon is.
Second, even if Tuberville believes (without evidence) that there are no white supremacists in the military, then the answer to NPR's question is: "I don't actually believe there are white supremacists in the military." No matter how badly you bungle that sentence, it simply does not morph into: "Well, they call them that. I call them Americans." He very clearly doesn't think that being a white supremacist is a big deal; he just happened to let that slip on the wrong radio station. We'd be pretty comfortable in guessing that he appears on more... "friendly" radio programs all the time, and he just forgot that he wasn't on one of them this time.
All of this said, there's no reason to think Tuberville is going to suffer any actual damage from this. After all, the seat he occupies now belonged for 20 years to Jeff Sessions, who was also a none-too-secret bigot. What cost Sessions his job, in the end, was not his statements about minorities, it was his statements about Donald Trump. As long as Tuberville is careful not to besmirch The Donald, he'll have his job for as long as he wants it. (Z)