A moniker used by some Democrats and media personalities to demagogue political opponents has been "white nationalist," and U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn) has decided to confront it head-on.
The topic arose for Alabama's senior U.S. Senator during an interview with Birmingham NPR affiliate WBHM in May. Tuberville accused Democrats of undermining military recruitment by declaring those who disagreed with President Joe Biden's political beliefs "white nationalists."
On Monday, Tuberville appeared on CNN and once again took on the topic of white nationalists during an interview with CNN host Kaitlan Collins.
After a lengthy defense of his hold on military promotions, Tuberville once again rejected the application of the term "white nationalist" while repeatedly stating his opposition to racism.
According to Tuberville, the Democrats' broad use of "white nationalist" was meant to trigger people for their political benefit.
Exchange as follows:
TUBERVILLE: First of all, I'm totally against any type of racism, OK? I was a football coach for 40 years. And I dealt and had opportunity to be around more minorities than anybody up here on this Hill.
But when our military has been attacked, was being attacked ... after January 6, and that was my first day on the Senate floor, I thought it was outrageous what Senators from the Democratic side.
Chuck Schumer sat on the floor that night, calling out people, calling people racist, calling people white nationalist, white nationalist, white nationalist — just another word they want to use other than racism.
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. Identity politics — I'm totally against that.
But I'm for the American people. I'm for the military. I'm for Christian conservatives, Democrats — whoever wants to be in the military to fight for this country, to protect this country. That's what it's all about.
COLLINS: But just to be clear, you agree that white nationalists should not be serving in the U.S. military. Is that what you're saying?
TUBERVILLE: If people think a white nationalist is a racist, I agree with that. I agree they should —
COLLINS: A white nationalist is someone who believes that the white race is superior to other races.
TUBERVILLE: Well, that's some people's opinion. And I don't think–
COLLINS: That's not opinion.
COLLINS: What is your opinion?
TUBERVILLE: My opinion of a white nationalist – if somebody wants to call them white nationalist – to me, is an American. It's an American. Now, if that white nationalist is a racist, I'm totally against anything that they want to do because I am 110% against racism.
But I want somebody that's in our military, that's strong, that believes in this country. That's an American that will fight along anybody, whether it's a man or woman, black or white. It doesn't make any difference.
And so, I'm totally against identity politics. I think it is ruining this country, and I think that Democrats ought to be ashamed for how they're doing this because it's dividing this country, and it's making this country weaker every day.
COLLINS: But that's not identity politics. You said a white nationalist is an American–
TUBERVILLE: It is identity politics.
COLLINS: You said a white nationalist is an American. But a white nationalist is someone who believes horrific things. Do you really think that's someone who should be serving in the military?
TUBERVILLE: Well, that's just a name that it's been given. I mean —
COLLINS: It's not. It's a real definition. There's real concerns about extremism.
TUBERVILLE: So if you're going to do away with most white people in this country out of the military, we got huge problems.
COLLINS: It's not people who are white. It is white nationalists.
TUBERVILLE: That have different belief ...
COLLINS: You see the distinction, right?
TUBERVILLE: ...that have different beliefs. Now, if racism is one of those beliefs, I'm totally against it. I'm totally against racism.
COLLINS: But that is a white nationalist. A white nationalist is racist, Senator.
TUBERVILLE: Well, that's your opinion. That's your opinion.
COLLINS: It's not an opinion.
TUBERVILLE: If it's racism, I am totally against it. I am totally against any type of racism. I don't care what it's in.
Jeff Poor is the editor in chief of 1819 News and host of "The Jeff Poor Show," heard Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-noon on Mobile's FM Talk 106.5. To connect or comment, email jeff.poor@1819News.com or follow him on Twitter @jeff_poor.
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