Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama expanded on his comments about white nationalists in the military, asserting that « racism is absolutely out of the question. »
“I am totally against racism. « If Democrats want to say that white nationalists are racist, I’m totally against that, » he said on Tuesday. When pressed on whether he believed white nationalists were racist, during a tense back-and-forth with reporters, Tuberville responded, « Yes, if that’s racist, then yes. »
During an interview on CNN’s « The Source with Kaitlan Collins, » Tuberville repeatedly backed up her earlier comments. When Collins said the definition of a white nationalist is someone who believes the white race is superior to other races, Tuberville said, « Well, that’s some people’s opinion. »
When asked what his opinion was, Tuberville said, « My opinion of a white nationalist is, if somebody wants to call them white nationalists, I’m an American. »
Speaking on an individual level, Tuberville added, « If people think a white nationalist is a racist, I’m okay with that. »
When Tuberville was asked earlier in an interview with a local Alabama radio station if he believed white nationalists should be allowed into the military, he replied, « I call them Americans. »
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer – Who Before Calling on Tuberville to denounce white nationalism as « un-American » and end his grip on military appointments — he blasted the Alabama Republican in comments on the floor Tuesday over his views on white nationalism.
« Last night, he was given another chance to clear the air by suggesting that no, white nationalists are not inherently racist. That yes, white nationalism is American. And the definition of white nationalism is subjective, » Schumer said. “It’s hard to believe that the senator from Alabama needs to be reformed again. The senator from Alabama is wrong, wrong, wrong. The definition of white nationalism is not subject to opinion.
When lawmakers are in the minority in the Senate, « the only power we have is to hold something, » Tuberville told CNN Monday night.
Asked by Collins if he knew better than the seven former defense secretaries who wrote a letter in May arguing that they « harm military readiness and harm U.S. national security, » Tuberville said: « They were nominated, they weren’t elected. I was elected to represent the people of Alabama in this country. »
« I’m a senator, » Tuberville added, « and until you confirm why you’re doing this, I can withhold any confirmation from the White House and the Pentagon. »
Tuberville told CNN’s Manu Raju earlier Monday that he was not concerned about « anything » affecting military readiness, arguing that « it’s not a risk. »
This story has been updated with additional updates.