(The Hill) — NAACP president Derrick Johnson on Monday accused Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) of spreading dangerous rhetoric after the senator claimed Democrats want reparations for minorities because they are “pro-crime.”
“Senator Tuberville’s comments are flat out racist, ignorant, and utterly sickening,” Johnson said in a statement Monday. “His 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.”
“We’ve seen this before from the far-right, and we’ve seen what they can do when they take power,” Johnson continued. “Next time the Senator wants to talk about crime, he should talk about Donald Trump’s hate-fueled rally on January 6, 2021, and the attacks that followed. Perhaps the real criminals are in his orbit.”
Tuberville’s comments came at a rally hosted by former President Donald Trump in Minden, Nev., on Saturday. He accused Democrats of being intentionally soft on crime.
“They want crime because they want to take over what you got,” Tuberville said. “They want to control what you have. They want reparations because they think the people that do the crime are owed that.”
Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) defended Tuberville Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” saying the comments were not meant to be racist and the rise in crime across the country cannot be ignored.
With midterms less than a month away, Republicans have used the increase in crime to mobilize voters. They’ve accused Democrats and liberal district attorneys of being soft on prosecuting offenders.
Johnson’s statement follows CNN political analyst Bakari Sellers’s comments on “State of the Union” on Sunday.
Sellers said Tuberville’s comments evoked “racist tropes” and a larger belief within the Republican party.
“For him to give these racist tropes — I mean, it infuriates me,” Sellers said. “But this is a large swath of the Republican Party that they have to deal with that they have never done.”