Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) is facing backlash for comments he made over the weekend about reparations for descendants of people who were enslaved, with National Urban League President Marc H. Morial calling his remarks "bigoted" and "stunning" and NAACP President Derrick Johnson describing them as "utterly sickening."
During a rally for former President Donald Trump on Saturday in Minden, Nevada, Tuberville, a retired college football coach, claimed that Democrats are "pro-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. Bulls---t. They are not owed that."
In a statement released Monday, Johnson called these comments "flat out racist, ignorant, and utterly sickening. [Tuberville's] words promote a centuries-old lie about Black people that throughout history have resulted in the most dangerous policies and violent attacks on our community. Next time the senator wants to talk about crime, he should talk about Donald Trump's hate-fueled rally on Jan. 6, 2021, and the attacks that followed. Perhaps the real criminals are in his orbit."
Morial called on every member of the Senate to "make it clear that Tuberville's repugnant views are unacceptable and must bear no influence on public policy. People of conscience can disagree on the best way to achieve economic justice after centuries of slavery, segregation, and discrimination. Sen. Tuberville has disqualified himself from serious discourse by smearing in the ugliest possible terms those who pursue racial justice and those to whom justice is owed."
Tuberville's Senate office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News. On Meet the Press Sunday, Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) was asked about Tuberville's comments, and responded that he would have been more "polite" when discussing reparations. After being pressed, Bacon said, "I'm not going to say he's being racist. But I wouldn't use that language."