WASHINGTON — Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., doubled down on his belief that a white nationalist is simply “an American,” taking issue with the CNN host’s claim that all white nationalists are, by definition, racist.
Tuberville made the comments in an interview with host Kaitlan Collins on CNN’s “The Source” when asked to clarify comments in a May radio interview that appeared to defend white nationalists by suggesting he should not be barred from serving in the military. .
“First of all, I’m totally against racism of any kind,” Tuberville said Monday, adding that he’s been a football coach for 40 years and has been around people of color in that time.
The senator accused Democratic lawmakers of using the term “white nationalist” to engage in “identity politics.”
Collins, however, pressed Tuberville again on whether he believed white nationalists could serve in the U.S. military.
“If people think a white nationalist is racist, I agree with that,” Tuberville said.
“A white nationalist is someone who believes that the white race is superior to other races,” Collins replied.
Tuberville took issue with his definition, saying it was “the opinion of some”.
“My idea of a white nationalist — if somebody wants to call them a white nationalist — to me, is an American. That’s an American,” he said. “Now, if that white nationalist is a racist, I’m totally against anything they want to do because I’m 110% against racism.”
Tuberville said, “If you’re going to take the majority of white people out of the military in this country, we’ve got big problems.”
Collins said that the people were not advocating the elimination of “white people,” but rather the elimination of white nationalists. Tuberville replied that they had “some, probably different beliefs.”
“Now, if racism is one of those beliefs, I’m totally against it,” he added. “I’m totally against racism.”
Collins once again claimed that a white nationalist is racist.
“Well, that’s your opinion. That’s your opinion,” he said. “If it’s racism, I’m totally against it.”
Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill Tuesday morning, Tuberville was again asked to clarify his comments.
“I’m totally against racism. “When Democrats say I’m a white nationalist, that’s the definition, I’m totally against white nationalists … It’s different for everyone — but I don’t get into definitions — but I’m totally against any form of racism, ever existed.”
Asked if people were haggling over definitions, Tuberville said, “There’s no one less racist in this building than me.”