Celebrity candidates for office are becoming more common. When someone who spent his life coaching football is then elected to the Senate, expectations are low. Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama has generally met them. (He’s a celebrity in Alabama.) Shortly after his election in 2020 he identified the three branches of government as the House, the Senate, and the executive. I assume by now the Supreme Court has come to his attention.
Senator Tuberville found his way onto the Senate Armed Services Committee which oversees the military. He has recently made headlines by holding up the promotions and assignments of over 100 senior military officers to important/critical positions because he objects to the Defense Department’s new policy that allows personnel seeking abortions to travel out of state if they are stationed in a state where abortion is now illegal. Using generals and admirals as pawns like this has not been done in recent memory.
This week however Senator Tuberville changed the narrative: “Tuberville Appears to Defend White Nationalists in the Military” In a radio interview he said, “We are losing in the military, so fast, our readiness in terms of recruitment. I can tell you why. Because the Democrats are attacking our military, saying we need to get out the white extremists, the white nationalists, people that don’t believe in our agenda, Joe Biden’s agenda. They’re destroying it. This year, we will not reach any recruiting goals in the military.”
In response, the reporter asked Senator Tuberville, “Do you believe they should allow white nationalists in the military?” Tuberville said, “Well, they call them that. I call them Americans.” You can read the entire remarkable interview here, including this follow-up: “Right after [January 6th], we, our military and Secretary Austin, put out an order to stand down and all military across the country, saying we’re going to run out the white nationalists, people that don’t believe how we believe. And that’s not how we do it in this country.” Really? That’s not what we do with white nationalists in the military? His office did promptly put out a statement telling us what he meant to say.
The reporter’s question was not about white Christian nationalists but in practice there really isn’t any other kind. Senator Tuberville joined an alarming number of members of Congress (and numerous state officials) who just say it out loud: white nationalists are simply good Americans and I’m not going to criticize them because I basically agree with them. You can use this Action Alert to tell him that white Christian nationalism is a threat to this country and that Congress should prioritize eliminating it in the military.
Incidentally, military recruitment has always been challenging when unemployment is low, and unemployment is historically low. You can pick up that kind of info when you haven’t spent your life recruiting 18-year-old quarterbacks and drawing up goal line defenses.