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GOP senator on White nationalists in the military: ‘I call them Americans’ — but later tries to clarify

<i>Jose Luis Magana/AP</i><br/>
Jose Luis Magana/AP

Nicky Robertson, CNN

In an interview with a local Alabama radio station, Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville was asked if he believes White nationalists should be allowed in the military. He responded, “I call them Americans.”

Tuberville is now attempting to clarify his comments, arguing that Trump Republicans in the military are being unfairly characterized as White nationalists.

The radio station WBHM published a transcript of the interview with Tuberville where he was asked, “Do you believe they should allow White nationalists in the military?”

The senator responded, “Well, they call them that. I call them Americans. What happened after January the sixth—and I was here on January the sixth—we were attacked on the Senate floor. Saying all these people that came into the Capitol were extremists, they were against the country. There was a lot of people. There were probably a hundred of them that came in, broke windows and broke doors that should have been locked up. That’s not how we do it in America.”

Tuberville later attempted to clarify his response, telling CNN on Thursday that “Democrats” say MAGA Republicans are White nationalists, and MAGA Republicans should not be characterized that way.

“Here’s the problem, Democrats portray all MAGA Republicans as White nationalists, that’s not true, we got a lot of great people in the military that are MAGAs, that’s what I was talking about ” he said.

Later, talking to a group of reporters, Tuberville said that he “looks at” White nationalism as being equated with Trump Republicans, because “that’s what we’re called all the time.”

“I look at a White nationalist as a, as a Trump Republican. That’s what we’re called all the time, a MAGA person, that’s what I’m just that. Well, I agree that we should not be characterizing Trump supporters as White nationalists,” the Alabama Republican said.

This comes as Tuberville has continued to put a hold on confirming military nominees over his anger at a Pentagon post-Roe policy that allows members of the military paid leave if they need to travel in order to have an abortion.

For weeks, Senate Democrats have criticized the effort by Tuberville and top defense officials have said that it is harming US national security as key senior positions are not permanently filled.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Thursday called on Tuberville to denounce White nationalism as “un-American,” and stop his hold on military nominations.

“Senator Tuberville, needs to do two things. He needs to come out and state clearly and unequivocally that White nationalism is un-American and he needs to drop his destructive holds on hundreds of our senior military leaders. This farse is endangering our national security, putting the lives of men and women who have served our country for decades in real trouble, and it needs to end,” Schumer said.

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