U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) is not walking away from the firestorm he lit earlier this week when he declared white nationalists are simply “Americans.” Now, doubling down, the former college football coach has announced a white nationalist is simply a “Trump Republican.”
Tuberville, already under fire for holding up 184 U.S. Armed Forces promotions or appointments, has been promoting white nationalism by claiming he’s just trying to help the military meet its recruiting goals.
NBC News’ Julie Tsirkin asked Senator Tuberville, “Do you want to clarify your comments?”
“The Democrats characterize all MAGA Republicans in the military as white nationalists,” Tuberville incorrectly told her. “Wrong. Okay, we can’t get politics in the military. This has nothing to do with extremists and all that this, you know, my first day here was January 6 had several senators stand up on the Senate floor saying to me we got too many white nationalists, I mean, what the heck is that?”
“We all got different beliefs. You know, I’m a church Christ, Catholics, we got different people. And we all have to make one military. We can’t start distinguishing different types of people. Okay. That’s all I say.”
That was not all he had to say.
Here’s the rest of the transcript Tsirkin posted:
TSIRKIN: But sir, there are folks with white nationalist beliefs unfortunately in this country, do you believe they should be serving in the military?
TUBERVILLE: We got to define that first. What is a white nationalist?
TSIRKIN: A white nationalist propagates Nazism, a white nationalist could be someone who doesn’t believe that Black and Brown people are equals…
TUBERVILLE: A white nationalist is a nazi?
TSIRKIN: Well that could be one of their beliefs – a white supremacist…
TUBERVILLE: I don’t look at it like that.
TSIRKIN: How do you look at it?
TUBERVILLE: I look at a white nationalist as a as a Trump Republican. That’s what we’re called all the time. A MAGA person and that’s what –
TSIRKIN: Do you agree with that characterization?
TUBERVILLE: We agree that we should not be characterizing Trump supporters as white nationalists.
TSIRKIN: So what you’re saying is Democrats are painting Trump supporters as white nationalists but that’s not what they are?
TUBERVILLE: Every day. Every day on the floor. The first day after I got here on January 6, that night, and that’s not right. Let’s not get into politics and calling people names. The military is about somebody that is fighting for the security of all of us. I don’t care if you’re Catholic, Baptist, it doesn’t make any difference. We’re all in this together. And so they’re politicizing the military so much. It is ruining our military. Look at look at our our recruiting. We’re getting hammered 15,000 down last year in army this year, one of the branches of military our at quota at this point are recruiting what they want to recruit. Something’s going wrong in our military. So I’ve seen where different leaders have said stuff about me and about our military. They need to worry about building the military. Don’t worry about me and building a military that’s that that protects all of us and our allies. That’s what I’m about.
Late last week Alabama Public Radio station WBHM reported Tubverville had been attacking Democrats, saying in an interview, “Democrats are attacking our military, saying we need to get out the white extremists or white nationalists, people that don’t believe in our agenda.”
When asked, “Do you believe they should allow white nationalists in the military?” Tuberville replied that Democrats “call them that. I call them Americans.”
The sports website Deadspin Friday looked at Tuberville’s coaching career, and compared it to his role as a U.S. Senator.
“Tommy Tuberville’s claim to fame as a football coach was derived from his silver-tongued salesmanship when it came time to recruit African-American teens, in their homes, and in front of their parents or coaches to his program,” Deadspin’s DJ Dunson wrote. “He peaked at Auburn in the early-to-mid 2000s and then bounced right when Nick Saban’s reign began at Alabama.”
“Tuberville tried to depict himself in a positive light, but the clues were always there that he was a scumbag. Tuberville bounced between jobs after leaving Auburn in 2008 and when he couldn’t cut it in college football anymore, he transitioned to a sector where he could showcase his disdain for Americans while also displaying his stunning lack of intellect — the United States Senate.”
This week MSNBC’s Chris Hayes explained why Sen. Tubverville’s remarks, whitewashing the violence out of white nationalism, is so dangerous.
Watch Hayes below or at this link.
Image via Shutterstock
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On World AIDS Day, DOJ Says Tennessee Law Discriminates Against Those With HIV
The Department of Justice celebrated World AIDS Day by calling out a Tennessee law that discriminates against people with HIV.
The DOJ released a report Friday that the state’s aggravated prostitution law violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. A person arrested under the aggravated prostitution law is normally changed with a misdemeanor, and faces up to six months in prison and a $500 fine. However, if the person arrested has HIV, the crime becomes a felony, and if they’re convicted, they would face between three and 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
“Tennessee’s aggravated prostitution law is outdated, has no basis in science, discourages testing and further marginalizes people living with HIV,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in a statement. “People living with HIV should not be treated as violent sex offenders for the rest of their lives solely because of their HIV status. The Justice Department is committed to ensuring that people with disabilities are protected from discrimination.”
The law was originally passed in 1991. It classifies HIV-positive sex workers as violent sex offenders, according to WKRN-TV. This means that in addition to the sentence, those convicted are put on the Tennessee Sex Offender Registry, usually for the rest of their lives.
The DOJ advised the state—and particularly, the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office, which enforces the statute most frequently, the department says—to stop enforcing the law. It also calls on the state to repeal the law and remove anyone from the registry when aggravated prostitution is the only offense. If this doesn’t happen, Tennessee could face a lawsuit.
Tennessee isn’t the only state to have laws applying to only those living with HIV. In 1988, Michigan passed a law requiring those with HIV to disclose their status before sex, according to WLNS-TV. The law is still on the books, but was updated in 2019 to lift the requirement if the HIV-positive person has an undetectable viral load. The law now also requires proof that the person set out to transmit HIV.
Laws like these can work against public health efforts, according to the National Institutes of Health. The NIH says these types of laws can make people less likely to be tested for HIV, as people cannot be punished if they didn’t know their status. In addition, critics say, the laws can be used to further discriminate. A Canadian study found a disproportionate number of Black men had been charged under HIV exposure laws.
World AIDS Day was first launched in 1988 by the World Health Organization and the United Nations to highlight awareness of the then-relatively new disease. The theme of the 2023 World AIDS Day is “Let Communities Lead,” calling on community leaders to end the AIDS epidemic.
Featured image by UNIS Vienna/Flickr via Creative Commons License.
John Fetterman Says Bob Menendez ‘Senator for Egypt,’ Should Be Expelled Next
Senator John Fetterman (D-PA) called Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) a “senator for Egypt,” and said he needed to be expelled from Congress, much like the now-former Representative George Santos.
Fetterman appeared on The View on Friday. The live broadcast aired as Santos had been kicked out of the House. When host Joy Behar asked what he thought of the vote, Fetterman immediately replied, “I’m not surprised.”
“If you are going to expel Santos, how can you allow somebody like Menendez to remain in the Senate? And, you know, Santos’ kind of lies were almost, you know, funny,” Fetterman said. “Menendez, I think is really a senator for Egypt, you know, not New Jersey. So I really think he needs to go.”
Host Sunny Hostin then asked if Fetterman was uncomfortable with expelling Menendez, as, like with Santos, he had only been indicted, not convicted.
“He has the right for his day in court and all of it, but he doesn’t have the right to to have those kinds of votes and things. That’s not a right,” he said. “I think we need to make that kind of decision to send him out.”
This September, Menendez was indicted on corruption charges. He is accused of accepting bribes of cash, gold and a car, as well as giving “highly sensitive” information about U.S. Embassy staffers in Cairo to the Egyptian government, according to USA Today. Menendez was forced to step down as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was replaced by Ben Cardin, Maryland’s Democratic senator.
Menendez denied wrongdoing, and has refused to resign, despite many calls to do so from both Democrats and Republicans.
“For years, forces behind the scenes have repeatedly attempted to silence my voice and dig my political grave,” Menendez said in a statement following his indictment. “Since this investigation was leaked nearly a year ago, there has been an active smear campaign of anonymous sources and innuendos to create an air of impropriety where none exists.”
This is not Menendez’s first brush with the law. Menendez was indicted in 2015 on federal corruption charges. He was accused of helping Salomon Melgen, one of Menendez’s campaign contributors, by intervening in a dispute with federal regulators and helping Melgen get a port security contract in the Dominican Republic.
In 2017, Menendez’s trial ended with a hung jury, and the Department of Justice declined to retry the case, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Menendez denied all wrongdoing.
House Votes to Boot George Santos 311-114
Representative George Santos (R-NY) has been expelled from Congress following a 311-114 vote; two House members voted “present.”
The expulsion of Santos follows a debate on his fate on Thursday. The vote required a two-thirds majority, or 290 of the 435-seat chamber. This is Santos’ third vote of expulsion; last month, a vote failed with 31 Democrats voting against, according to The Hill.
While the vote was decisive, some notable Republicans voted to save Santos, including House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) and House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN).
“We’ve not whipped the vote and we wouldn’t,” Johnson told CNN Wednesday. “I trust that people will make that decision thoughtfully and in good faith. I personally have real reservations about doing this, I’m concerned about a precedent that may be set for that.”
Santos himself had harsh words for the House following the vote. Leaving the capitol building, he briefly spoke with reporters.
“The House spoke that’s their vote. They just set new dangerous precedent for themselves,” he told CNN. “Why would I want to stay here? To hell with this place.”
He then cut his time short, telling reporters, “You know what? As unofficially no longer a member of Congress, I no longer have to answer your questions.”
Santos also faces 23 federal charges, which include fraud, money laundering and misuse of campaign funds, according to CNN. He has pleaded not guilty. An Ethics Committee report found evidence that Santos used campaign funds for Botox and even an OnlyFans account.
On Thursday, Santos said he refused to resign because otherwise, “they win.”
“If I leave the bullies take place. This is bullying,” Santos said. “The reality of it is it’s all theater, theater for the cameras and theater for the microphones. Theater for the American people at the expense of the American people because no real work’s getting done.”
Santos also threatened to file a resolution to expel Representative Jamaal Bowman (D-NY). Bowman pulled a fire alarm in September. Bowman pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge, and said it was an accident. He said he thought the fire alarm would open a locked door as he rushed to a vote. Bowman paid a $1,000 fine.
There have only been six total expulsions from the House, including Santos. Santos is the only Republican to ever be expelled from the House.
The previous expulsion was in 2002, when Representative James Traficant (D-OH) was expelled after a 420-1 vote. Traficant had been convicted on 10 counts of corruption-related crimes.
Before Traficant, Representative Michael “Ozzie” Myers (D-PA) was the first representative of the modern era to be expelled. Myers got the boot following his conviction for accepting bribes. Myers couldn’t keep out of trouble; in 2022, he was convicted and sentenced to 30 months in prison on charges of election fraud.
Prior to Myers, the only expulsions from the House were in 1861, at the start of the Civil War. Henry Cornelius Burnett (D-KY), John William Reid (D-MO) and John Bullock Clark (Whig-MO) were all expelled for joining the Confederacy.
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