Alabama Democratic Party chairman Randy Kelley refused to walk back a controversial tweet from the party's Twitter account, calling the media and U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn) "racist" on Thursday.
A social media post by the Alabama Democratic Party compared Tuberville to Adolf Hitler.
The post states, "Tuberville is speaking in code here. Time to call it what it is. 'Wokeness' refers to a military that has black, brown, red, yellow, and female leaders. He prefers his military to look like Nazi Germany's Third Reich," and the tweet includes a photo of Adolf Hitler.
The social media post was in response to a short video clip of Tuberville saying the United States had the weakest military in our lifetime and that the military had been infiltrated by wokeness.
The post was slammed by Twitter users, including the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Southeast.
"Say what you will about another person's politics, but drawing Hitler and Nazi comparisons – thereby trivializing the Holocaust – is not the answer," the ADL tweeted.
Kelley told 1819 News he did not post the tweet. He said his new technology director did it but did not identify the director. After walking back the tweet and telling CBS 42 it would be deleted, Kelley told 1819 News the tweet would be edited soon to clear up what the person meant to say.
"It's going to be edited," Kelley said. "Now, we're not going to let Tuberville get away with his racist remarks. Tuberville talked about, had a racist reference to Biden's stance on diversity, equity and inclusion, and he is erroneously, well, it's not erroneously for him, using the term 'wokeness' in reference to diversity in the military, such as people of color, black people and of course, women."
"So, we're not going to let him get away with a pass talking about the military has been weakened because of that," he continued. "That in itself is a racist, Hitler mentality, and he has taken numerous racist stances, and we're certainly not going to be silent about it. He used the term 'wokeness' and wokeness to him means people of color and diversity."
Tuberville has been holding military promotions in protest of the Pentagon's abortion policy but recently said he is working on a resolution. Kelley argued that Tuberville's stance on abortion policy is racist. He claimed Tuberville made his living off black people during his time as a football coach while having a racist mentality.
Nexstar Media's Alabama State Capitol reporter Maddie Biertempfel reported on the tweet, writing, "The Alabama Democratic Party Chairman is walking back on a social media post comparing Sen. Tommy Tuberville's views on the military to Nazi Germany." The report was seen in several Alabama television markets, on CBS 42 in Birmingham, WHNT in Huntsville, WKRG in Mobile, WDHN in Dothan and WRBL in east Alabama.
Kelley said he isn't "walking back" on the tweet, even though he did say it needs to be clarified.
"I am not standing behind that. I am saying that they [CBS 42] misinterpreted her [the technology director's] statements, and she didn't have any ill or evil intent about writing what she was writing," Kelley said. "She was equating his remarks with Hitler's mentality. Both of them got the same mentality."
"The new technology director didn't mean any harm about what she wrote," he continued. "It wasn't nothing that was aimed at any Jewish people or anything of that nature. But we do know that Hitler - he was the epitome of racism. She is equating Tuberville's mentality to Hitler. Well, Hitler didn't like black people and didn't like Jews either. From my understanding, he exterminated black people. Hitler wasn't no friend to us."
"White folk media, unless you've been under a rock, is racist, too," Kelley added. "They're going to always twist stuff against any black person in leadership. It was never a black leader that rose up in Alabama that white folks said favorable things toward."
CBS 42 News director Rob Martin responded to Kelley's claims: "If you review our story, you will find that every statement is attributed either to Randy Kelley or the Anti-Defamation League. In no way did we misrepresent the facts or any quotes. Both were responding to the tweet posted."
Still, Kelley said he feels attacked by the report and thinks the attack is unjustified because he didn't have anything to do with the tweet.
"White folks can write whatever in the ham sandwich they want to write about me," Kelley said. "It really doesn't bother me. Yeah. It really doesn't bother me. And then I didn't write it."
He continued, "My technology director wrote it, and she has explained to me why she wrote it, and I had already suspected why she [the reporter] wrote it, and they just deliberately misinterpreted it in order to try to sabotage me. That's what that's about because she wrote it, and then you're going to attack me. And I hadn't seen it. So, really, that's what that's about. The whole thing is a racist spin in the media."
Kelley said he believes white people operate off the idea that there is something wrong with black people and that black people would be better if they acted more like whites.
"Really, there's a lot of Hitler in a bunch of white folks now," he said. "You've got explicit racism, and you've got implicit racism."
He believes the trust of news media is lost in the black community.
"I don't agree with very little of what white folk write, to tell you the truth," Kelley explained. "There's a cultural paranoia among black people where that we've got to be suspect of what white folks see and what white folks write."
"That's why black folks not buying white folks newspaper and black folks ain't buying into a lot of this foolishness that you're writing because you [have] never been writing in our favor," he added. "That's why the black press came into being, to tell our story. Even some of these black publications is [sic] fed by what white folks have said. They ain't got nobody out doing research and all this kind of stuff … I'm not hung up a whole lot really on what white folks said in the media."
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