Democrats and advocates are condemning remarks made by Republican lawmakers Sen. Tommy Tuberville and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene during separate Donald Trump rallies over the weekend as racist.
What You Need To Know
- Sen. Tommy Tuberville and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene are coming under fire for making racist comments during separate Donald Trump rallies over the weekend
- The remarks come on the heels of Trump himself using an anti-Asian slur to refer to Elaine Chao — his former transportation secretary and the wife of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — and raise questions about whether some Republicans are growing more comfortable using overtly racist rhetoric
- During a rally Saturday night in Minden, Nevada, Tuberville, R-Ala., Democrats "want reparations because they think the people that do the crime are owed that," drawing a direct line between crime and African Americans
- On Sunday in Mesa, Arizona, Greene, R-Ga., espoused rhetoric that echoed the “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory long promoted by white nationalists that nonwhite immigrants could eventually displace native-born white Americans
The remarks come on the heels of Trump himself using an anti-Asian slur to refer to Elaine Chao — his former transportation secretary and the wife of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — and raise questions about whether some Republicans are growing more comfortable using overtly racist rhetoric.
During a rally Saturday night in Minden, Nevada, Tuberville, R-Ala., drew a direct line between crime and African Americans while baselessly making the accusation that Democrats are "pro-crime."
"They are not soft on crime,” Tuberville said of Democrats. “They're pro-crime. They want crime. They want crime because they want to take over what you got. They want to control what you have. They want reparations because they think the people that do the crime are owed that.”
The Alabama lawmaker was referring to reparations, the centuries-old suggestion that the U.S. government attempt to make amends for slavery and the racial injustices that followed by paying restitution to the descendants of slaves. In April 2021, the House Judiciary Committee advanced a bill that would establish a commission to study and develop reparation proposals, but the legislation has languished in Congress ever since. A number of cities — including Evanston, Illinois; Asheville, North Carolina; and St. Louis — have passed ordinances that create some form of reparations or a path toward them.
In an interview with MSNBC on Sunday, Rep. Kweisi Mfume, D-Md., called Tuberville’s comments “about the most vicious, vile, repugnant, parochial, racist things that I've heard in a long, long time.”
“I would hope that every elected official on both sides of the aisle condemned that,” Mfume said. “He is a bigot, and until he says something different, he will always be seen as a bigot.”
Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., told NBC News’ “Meet the Press” on Sunday he did not believe Tuberville’s comments were racist, but added: “I wouldn't use that language. Be more polite.”
"Senator Tuberville's comments are flat out racist, ignorant and utterly sickening," NAACP president Derrick Johnson wrote in a statement on Monday. "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 community."
On Sunday in Mesa, Arizona, Greene, R-Ga., claimed, “Joe Biden's 5 million illegal aliens are on the verge of replacing you, replacing your jobs and replacing your kids in school and, coming from all over the world, they're also replacing your culture. And that's not great for America.”
Her comments echoed the “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory long promoted by white nationalists that nonwhite immigrants could eventually displace native-born white Americans.
Greene, who is known for making outlandish, controversial comments, delivered the remarks three days after House Democrats introduced a resolution seeking to censure her for posting on Twitter that “Joe Biden is Hitler. The post included a doctored video of Biden with a Hitler-style mustache, swastikas in the background and audio of Hitler.
Greene spoke at a white nationalist conference earlier this year, but she claimed she did not know the views of its delegates.
In attacking McConnell on Truth Social last month, Trump used a derogatory remark to refer to Chao, who served in his cabinet for nearly the entirety of his White House tenure before resigning one day after the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Among those to criticize Trump's remarks was Zhengyu Huang, president of the Committee of 100 — a nonpartisan leadership group of prominent Chinese Americans in business, government, academia and the arts — who condemned Trump’s “racist slurs and hate” toward Chao as “deplorable, disgusting, and inexcusable.”
Reed Galen, co-founder of The Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump political action committee led by current and former Republicans, said politicians exploiting racial divides is nothing new, dating back at least to the 1950s.
“If it's an election year and it's October, for Republican candidates, it's time to scare the white people,” Galen told Spectrum News.
“Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't,” he added. “But there's no mystery behind it.”
The congressional midterm elections will be held four weeks from Tuesday, which were the reasons for Trump's weekend campaign rallies.
Galen said he thinks Trump’s own rise while playing to some people’s racial fears has given “a lot of Republicans, especially, permission to be their worst selves and to believe their most base instincts,” leading to more explicit rhetoric by politicians and candidates.