WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville asserted that Democrats support reparations for the descendants of enslaved people because “they think the people who do the crime are owed that.”
The primary-term Alabama Republican spoke at a Saturday evening rally in Nevada featuring former President Donald Trump, a political ally. His comments were a part of a broader critique in the ultimate weeks before the Nov. 8 election, when control of Congress is at stake, about how Democrats have responded to rising crime rates. But Tuberville’s remarks about reparations played into racist stereotypes about Black people committing crimes.
“They’re not soft on crime,” Tuberville said of Democrats. “They’re pro-crime. They need crime. They need crime because they need to take over what you bought. They need to regulate what you may have. They need reparation because they think the people who do the crime are owed that.”
He ended his appearance with a profanity as the group cheered.
Tuberville is falsely suggesting that Democrats promote crime and that only Blacks are the perpetrators. In reality, crime has slowed within the last 12 months and most crimes are committed by whites, in response to FBI data.
The Democratic Party has not taken a stance on reparations for Black Americans to compensate for years of unpaid slave labor by their ancestors, though some leading Democrats, including President Joe Biden, back the creation of a national commission to check the problem.
Some Republicans on Sunday struggled to defend Tuberville’s comments.
WATCH: After Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s (R) controversial remarks at a Trump rally, @kwelkernbc asks, “Do his comments cross a racial line?”@RepDonBacon: “Yeah, that’s not the way in which I’d present things. … I wouldn’t use that language. Be more polite.” pic.twitter.com/kX4jAlCZFk
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) October 9, 2022
Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) said he “wouldn’t say it the identical way,” describing the remarks as impolite.
“That’s not the way in which I present things,” Bacon said on “Meet the Press” on NBC. “But got to be honest that we’ve a criminal offense problem in our country.”
There was no immediate response from Tuberville’s office on Sunday to a request for comment.
Republicans have been attempting to close out this election 12 months with an emphasis on crime, using rhetoric that has sometimes been alarmist or of questionable veracity, just like Trump’s late-stage argument through the 2020 campaign that Democratic-led cities were uncontrolled.
FBI data released last week showed violent and property crime generally remained consistent between 2020 and 2021, with a slight decrease in the general violent crime rate and a 4.3% rise within the murder rate. That’s an improvement over 2020, when the murder rate within the U.S. jumped 29%.
The report presents an incomplete picture, partly since it doesn’t include among the nation’s largest police departments.
More broadly, rates of violent crime and killings have increased across the U.S. because the pandemic, in some places spiking after hitting historic lows. Nonviolent crime decreased through the pandemic, however the murder rate grew nearly 30% in 2020, rising in cities and rural areas alike, in response to an evaluation of crime data by The Brennan Center for Justice. The speed of assaults went up 10%, the evaluation found.
The rise defies easy explanation. Experts have pointed to a variety of potential causes, from worries concerning the economy and historically high inflation rates to intense stress through the pandemic that has killed greater than 1 million people in the USA.