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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Thursday condemned what he called “utterly revolting” comments by Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R) about white nationalism in the military after Tuberville seemed to challenge efforts to purge white nationalists from the armed forces.  

Schumer, who has repeatedly criticized Tuberville for putting a blanket hold on 184 military promotions to protest the Defense Department’s abortion policies, also took aim at Tuberville’s skepticism about whether white nationalism is a problem among service members. 

Schumer said Tuberville “apparently bemoaned the military’s efforts to root out white nationalism from our armed forces” because he balked at using that description for some troops.  

During an interview with Birmingham, Ala., radio station WBHM, Tuberville was asked whether “they should allow white nationalists in the military.”

Tuberville responded: “Well, they call them that. I call them Americans.”

Schumer pounced on those comments Thursday. 

“Does Sen. Tuberville honestly believe that our military is stronger with white nationalists in its ranks? I cannot believe this needs to be said, but white nationalism has no place in our armed forces and no place in any corner of American society, period, full stop, end of story,” Schumer said.  

“I urge Sen. Tuberville to think about the destructive spectacle he is creating in the Senate. His actions are dangerous,” he added.  

Steven Stafford, a spokesman for Tuberville, provided a statement clarifying that his boss does not think white nationalists should serve in the military. 

“Sen. Tuberville’s quote shows that he was being skeptical of the notion that there are white nationalists in the military, not that he believes they should be in the military,” the statement said. 

Stafford told The Washington Post in an email that the senator “resents the implication that the people in our military are anything but patriots and heroes.”