Senator Tommy Tuberville falsely accused Democrats of wanting compensation for people who “commit the crime”

Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) falsely claimed that Democrats are “pro-crime” and support reparations for blacks whose ancestors were enslaved because those who “do the crime” were owed — a remark that has generated accusations of racism and criticism as dishonest.

The senator and former football coach dismissed the oft-repeated Republican claim that Democrats are “soft on crime” and made the baseless statement that Democrats are “prof.-crime.” Tuberville and Trump campaigned for Nevada’s GOP candidates ahead of November’s midterm elections.

“They’re pro-crime,” Tuberville said. “They want crime. They want crime because they want to take what you have. They want to check what you have. They want compensation because they think the people who commit the crime owe it.” He added an expletive.

Although a handful of Democrats in Congress have expressed support for reparations for black Americans descended from people enslaved in the United States, the Democratic Party as a whole does not support the idea. House Democrats have backed a bill that would create a commission to study reparations, but there hasn’t been enough support in the Senate from Democrats or Republicans for the legislation. As a result, some prominent Democrats have urged President Biden to sign an executive order that would create the commission.

Although Biden has not signed an executive order, he supported plans to study replacements while campaigning for the presidency in 2020, a position he has maintained since assuming the presidency.

Tuberville and most Republicans contacted by The Washington Post were silent on the comments Monday.

But rep. Byron Donalds (Fla.), one of the two black Republicans in the House, defended Tuberville by suggesting that Ariel Atkins, a Black Lives Matter Chicago activist, shares the lawmaker’s point of view. While some Democratic leaders condemned criminal activity in response to the May 2020 death of George Floyd, a Black Minneapolis resident, Atkins argued that looting is a form of reparation.

“I don’t care if someone decides to rob a Gucci or a Macy’s or a Nike store, because that makes sure that person eats,” she said in August 2020 during a rally in support of more than 100 people arrested after looting in Chicago. “It ensures that the person has clothes.”

“It’s compensation,” Atkins added. “Anything they want to take, take it because these companies have insurance.”

The Donalds blamed Liberal lawmakers for this type of criminal activity, arguing that Tuberville has a track record of taking care of blacks more than members of the opposing party do.

“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 attorney, criticized Tuberville for building his wealth as Auburn University’s head football coach from 1999 to 2008 while young black men risked their health under his leadership.

“Tommy Tuberville can go to hell, and let me tell you why,” Sellers said on CNN. “The fact is he made tens of millions of dollars off unpaid black men as a football coach.

“He literally has the stature that he has because people went out there and took the risk and incurred the risk of concussions, playing hard and everything,” he added.

Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D-Md.), a former president and CEO of the NAACP, said Sunday that Tuberville’s hateful comments could incite violence against black people.

“His comments are the most vicious, vile, vile, vile, racist thing I’ve heard in a long, long time,” Mfume said on MSNBC. “People take it — the sick — and they figure they have to do something to expand the senator’s philosophy.

“I hope every elected official on both sides of the aisle condemns it,” the lawmaker added. “He’s a bigot. And until he says otherwise, he’ll always be seen as a bigot.”

The Nevada State Democratic Party called Tuberville’s remarks racist and “nothing short of monstrous” — and condemned the GOP for not speaking out against them.

“The refusal of Republicans — including those in our own state — to condemn this malignant bigotry is yet another example of how corrupted the GOP has become by extremism and hatred,” spokesman Gordon Brown told The Post.

The party also pushed back on Tuberville’s suggestion that reparations is a harmful political idea given the inequality between black and white Americans that began during slavery.

“Establishments are a long overdue and overdue step to address the injustices and inequality black Americans experience after centuries of slavery and segregation,” Brown added. “The Nevada State Democratic Party proudly and unapologetically calls for reparations and supports all efforts to fulfill America’s promise of true equality and lasting justice.”

NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson condemned Tuberville’s comments and highlighted criminal activity by some Trump supporters. More than 900 people who protested the results of the 2020 presidential election have been charged with crimes in connection with the January 6, 2021, uprising at the US Capitol.

“Senator Tuberville’s comments are downright racist, ignorant and completely sickening,” Johnson said Monday in a statement. “His words promote a centuries-old lie about black people that throughout history has resulted in the most dangerous policies and violent attacks on our society. We’ve seen it before from the far right, and we’ve seen what they can do when they take the power.

“The next time the senator wants to talk about crime, he should talk about Donald Trump’s hate rally on January 6, 2021. Maybe the real criminals are in his orbit,” he added.

The campaign committees for the two parties had no immediate comment on Monday.

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