UPDATE: NAACP calls on corporate backers of Tommy Tuberville to take action
On Saturday, Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) delivered a racist diatribe during a political rally in Nevada. Tuberville described Black Americans as "people that do the crime." Yesterday's Popular Information revealed Tuberville's corporate backers, a group that includes Blue Origin, the space company owned by Jeff Bezos.
Our reporting was featured on Tuesday by the NAACP. The venerable civil rights organization called on corporations to prove their commitment to racial equality "in moments just like this" with "action."
But Tuberville's corporate supporters, including Home Depot, Pfizer, BAE Systems, UPS, Leidos, and Tysons Food, have thus far all remained silent. Perhaps they believe that the controversy surrounding Tuberville, who will fade away. In any event, they are not yet compelled to let Tuberville's overt racism interfere with their relationship with the Senator, who will be in office until at least 2026.
The conspicuous silence of Adam Laxalt
Tuberville is ignoring media inquiries about his comments. On Twitter, he called the event a "fantastic night," but has otherwise stayed silent.
At this point, it's safe to say that Tuberville does not feel the need to clarify or apologize. One can only conclude that his racist comments about Black Americans reflect what he actually believes. Other Republican officials have largely followed Tuberville's lead and kept quiet. One elected Republican who did address it, Congressman Don Bacon (R-NE), said Tuberville's remarks were not racist. He advised Tuberville to be more "polite" in the future. And Alabama GOP chairman John Wahl offered this quasi-defense of Tuberville:
I did not watch the rally, so I don’t know the exact context of Senator Tuberville’s remarks. However, Coach Tuberville is well known for his work with people of all backgrounds, both on the field and off. His record and respect of others speaks volumes about his integrity and character.
Wahl did not specify what "context" would make Tuberville's remarks acceptable. Congressman Byron Donalds (R-FL), one of two Black Republicans in the House, also defended Tuberville. "As a coach and mentor to countless Black men, Tommy Tuberville has done more to advance Black lives than most people, especially in the Democratic Party," Donalds said.
A politician whose silence is particularly conspicuous is Adam Laxalt, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Nevada. Tuberville was in Nevada, along with Trump, to support Laxalt's campaign against Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV). Laxalt posted a video montage of the event but otherwise has not commented. It's notable that Laxalt has not felt compelled to distance himself from Tuberville's remarks.
Laxalt has advanced racist narratives himself during his Senate campaign. Specifically, Laxalt has advanced the "Great Replacement" theory, a conspiracy promoted by white nationalists that Democrats are seeking to replace white people with non-white immigrants as part of a political strategy. This is what Laxalt said during an October 2021 campaign appearance:
It’s scary, scary stuff — 200,000 people pouring over the border every single month. Is the media covering this wall to wall? Of course not. Because this is what the left wants. The left wants to radically transform this nation, and they want to destroy the values that made this country a great nation.
In an ad released by the Laxalt campaign last month, Laxalt appears alongside Brandon Judd, the president of the National Border Patrol Council. In an April appearance on Fox News, Judd promoted the Great Replacement theory. "I believe that [Democrats are] trying to change the demographics of the electorate; that's what I believe they’re doing," Judd said. "They want to stay in power, and the only way to stay in power is to continue to stay elected." USA Today noted that Judd was advancing a "trope" embraced by "American white supremacists and other racist extremists for decades."
Laxalt may be able to avoid answering questions about Tuberville's racism because he largely limits his media appearances to friendly right-wing outlets like Fox News. As of Tuesday, Fox News had not mentioned Tuberville's remarks at Laxalt's rally in any of its coverage, according to a search of TVEyes, a media monitoring service.