“They’re pro-criminal,” Tuberville said. “They want crime. They want crime because they want to take over what you have. They want to check what you have. They want reparations because they think the people who committed the crime owe it.” He added a profanity.
While a handful of Democrats in Congress have expressed support for reparations for black Americans descended from people enslaved in the US, the Democratic Party as a whole does not support the idea. House Democrats have supported a bill that would create a committee to study reparations, but there was not enough Senate support from Democrats or Republicans for the legislation. As a result, some prominent Democrats encouraged President Biden to sign an executive order that the commission would create.
Although Biden has not signed an executive order, he supported plans to study reparations while campaigning for the 2020 presidency, a position he has held since he took over the presidency.
Tuberville and most Republicans contacted by The Washington Post remained silent on the comments Monday.
But Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), one of two Black Republicans in the House, defended Tuberville by suggesting that Ariel Atkins, a Black Lives Matter Chicago activist, shares the legislature’s views. While some Democratic leaders denounced criminal activity in response to the May 2020 death of Black Minneapolis resident George Floyd, Atkins argued that looting is a form of reparations.
“I don’t care if someone decides to loot a Gucci or Macy’s or Nike store because that’s what makes that person eat,” she said in August 2020 at a rally with more than 100 people arrested after looting in Chicago. . “That ensures that that person has clothes.
“Those are reparations,” Atkins added. “Anything they wanted to take, they can take because these companies have insurance.”
Donalds blames liberal lawmakers for this kind of criminal activity, arguing that Tuberville has a track record of caring more for black people than opposing members.
“Crime is top of mind for Americans because of soft-on-crime policies and progressive prosecutors in liberal cities,” he told The Post on Monday. “As a coach and mentor to countless black men, Tommy Tuberville has done more to advance black lives than most people, especially in the Democratic Party.”
But Bakari Sellers, an activist and civil rights lawyer, criticized Tuberville for building his wealth as head football coach of Auburn University from 1999 to 2008 while black young men risked their health under his leadership.
“Tommy Tuberville can go to hell, and let me tell you why,” Sellers told CNN. The fact is that as a football coach he made tens of millions of dollars from unpaid black men.
“He literally has the status he has because people went out and took the risk and risked concussions, playing hard and everything,” he added.
Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D-Md.), former president and CEO of the NAACP, said on Sunday that Tuberville’s hateful comments could fuel violence against black people.
“His comments are the most cruel, despicable, abhorrent, parochial, racist thing I’ve heard in a long, long time,” Mfume told MSNBC. “People take that — the sick — and they think they need to do something to expand the senator’s philosophy.
“I hope every elected official on both sides of the aisle condemns that,” the lawmaker added. “He’s a bigot. And until he says otherwise, he’ll always be seen as a bigot.”
NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson condemned Tuberville’s comments and highlighted criminal activity by some Trump supporters. More than 900 people protesting the results of the 2020 presidential election have been charged with crimes related to the January 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol uprising.
“Senator Tuberville’s comments are downright racist, ignorant and downright sickening,” Johnson said in a statement Monday. “His words promote an age-old lie about black people that has led to the most dangerous policies and violent attacks on our community throughout history. We’ve seen this from the far right before, and we’ve seen what they can do if they seize power.
“Next time the senator wants to talk about crime, he should talk about Donald Trump’s hate-fueled rally on Jan. 6, 2021. Maybe the real criminals are in his orbit,” he added.
The campaign committees of the two parties did not immediately comment on Monday.