Sen. Tommy Tuberville silent amid uproar over racist remarks made at Nevada event

Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., departs the Senate as lawmakers work on Aug. 2, 2021.
Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., departs the Senate as lawmakers work on Aug. 2, 2021.

U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama remained silent Monday amid criticism of racist remarks he made at a Nevada rally on Saturday.

In a speech at a rally for Nevada Republican Senate candidate Adam Laxalt and gubernatorial candidate Joe Lombardo, hosted by former President Donald Trump, the freshman senator accused Democrats of being “pro-crime.”

“They want crime,” he said. “They want crime because they want to take over what you got. They want to control what you have. They want reparations because they think the people that do the crime are owed that. Bull----.”

Reparations are generally seen as efforts to repair the physical, psychological and social damage that slavery inflicted on Black Americans. The remarks drew widespread condemnation from Democrats over the weekend.

In a video posted to Twitter Sunday evening, former U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, a Democrat who Tuberville defeated in 2020, said “this racist rant at a MAGA rally has to be called out.”

“It’s this white nationalist appeal that hearkens back to a really dark time,” Jones said. “A dark time in Alabama, a dark time in the United States, a really dark time for this country.”

Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa, wrote on Twitter that “the bull---- is that this guy is a United States senator in the first place.”

Trump rally Saturday:GOP Sen. Tommy Tuberville promotes racist narrative about Black people, crime at rally

Tuberville’s office did not respond to two requests for comment, sent Saturday evening and Monday. An attempt to contact the National Republican Senate Committee was unsuccessful on Monday morning.

“I did not watch the rally, so I don't know the exact context of Senator Tuberville’s remarks," John Wahl, the chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, said in a statement Monday afternoon. "However, Coach Tuberville is well known for his work with people of all backgrounds both on the field and off. His record and respect of others speaks volumes about his integrity and character.”

Alabama slaveholders held about 45% of Alabama's residents in slavery in 1860. The legacies of human bondage and segregation have created widespread racial disparities in health and economic outcomes in the state.

According to the U.S. Census, 11.8% of white Alabamians lived below the poverty line in 2021, compared to 26% of Black Alabamians. According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, the infant mortality rate in 2018 among white Alabamians was 5.1 deaths per 1,000 live births. Among Black Alabamians, it was 11 per 1,000 live births.

In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed legislation authorizing $20,000 in reparations to Japanese Americans forced into internment camps during World War II. Congress held hearings on reparations for descendants of slavery in 2019, but has not taken further action on the idea.

Some private educational institutions that supported slavery have taken steps toward reparations. Georgetown University, which sold 272 men, women and children in 1838 to near-certain death on Louisiana plantations, has pledged $100 million to address the fallout of its actions. Princeton Theological Seminary in 2019 pledged $27 million to address its own ties to slavery, which included using enslaved people on its property and relying on donations from slaveholders.

Brian Lyman covers politics and state government for the Montgomery Advertiser. Contact him at 334-240-0185 or Updated at 1:43 p.m. with comments from Alabama Republican Party Chair John Wahl.

This article originally appeared on Montgomery Advertiser: Sen. Tommy Tuberville mum amid uproar over racist remarks