By TODD STACY, Alabama Daily News
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville today offered his first public comments after kicking off a media firestorm by conflating the issues of reparations and crime at a Nevada political rally a week ago.
Tuberville did not directly address the substance of his remarks in Nevada that have drawn the most ire, namely that Democrats are “pro crime” and want reparations for “those who do the crime.” He did seek to clarify and sharpen his position on crime and blamed the media for making the story about race.
“The issue is crime, not race, but the liberal media is intent on helping Democrats remain in power,” Tuberville said via a spokeswoman responding to questions from Alabama Daily News. “Crime has spiked nationwide under Democrats and their ‘Defund the Police’ policies, and I was pointing out the frustration many Americans share when I spoke last weekend.”
During the Nevada rally, Tuberville suggested that Democrats support reparations for the descendants of slaves because “they think the people that do the crime are owed that.”
“They’re not soft on crime. They’re pro-crime. They want crime,” Tuberville said of Democrats. “They want crime because they want to take over what you got. They want to control what you have. They want reparation because they think the people that do the crime are owed that. Bullshit! They aren’t owed that!”
Alabama Tommy Tuberville FULL comments on
— PatrickMcMilan707 (@PMilan707) October 9, 2022
His remarks drew intense criticism from Democrats, while Republicans have mostly looked the other way and avoided questions on the matter.
In his first public comments since, Tuberville aimed to point the finger back at Democrats for policies he says are driving an increase in violent crime.
“Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and rioters have caused over $2 billion in damage to our cities since 2020,” Tuberville said. “Illegal immigrants and drugs are streaming across our southern border in record numbers. Progressive prosecutors across the nation refuse to enforce laws they personally disagree with, and our communities are suffering because of it. Even Alabama Democrats want to satisfy the outrageous demands of murderers and rapists currently on work-strike in state prisons. Democrats favor criminals over the victims through their actions and policies.”
A recent report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation showed violent and property crime generally remained consistent between 2020 and 2021, with a slight decrease in the overall violent crime rate and a 4.3% uptick in the murder rate. That suggests an improvement over 2020, when the murder rate in the U.S. jumped 29% during the COVID-19 pandemic that created huge social disruption and upended support systems. However, the report did not include data from some of the nation’s largest police departments, including New York and Los Angeles.
The former Auburn football coach also defended his record as an educator and mentor after some of his former players expressed disappointment over the crime and reparations comments.
“As a coach, building young people of character was one of my top priorities,” he said. “As a Senator, I want to ensure that we create policies at the national level that reinforce values such as integrity and accountability. I will continue to fight for safer communities and accountability for criminals. Americans should not live in fear.”