Skip to content

DeVos funded Senator Tuberville, White Nationalism and the history of the US Military

May 17, 2023

Senator Tommy Tuberville has been in the news in the past week, for comments he made about White Nationalists in the US Military. 

In an interview that aired on NPR member station WBHM in Alabama, here is the exchange between Senator Tuberville and Richard Banks, who is with WBHM. 

SEN. TOMMY TUBERVILLE: We are losing in the military so fast our readiness in terms of recruitment. And why? I’ll tell you why: because the Democrats are attacking our military, saying, “We need to get out the white extremists, the white nationalists, people that don’t — don’t believe in our agenda, as the Joe Biden agenda.” They’re destroying it. 

RICHARD BANKS: You mentioned the Biden administration trying to prevent white nationalists from being in the military. Do you believe they should allow white nationalists in the military?

SEN. TOMMY TUBERVILLE: Well, they call them that. I call them Americans.

Tuberville, you might recall, made another outlandish comment just after he was elected in November of 2020, when he said: “I tell people, my Dad fought 76 years ago in Europe to free Europe of Socialism.” Tuberville made this comment during his acceptance speech, when he won the Senatorial seat in Alabama. At the time, GRIID wrote about Tuberville’s lack of understanding about history, but also that he received substantial support from the DeVos family during his 2020 election bid. Here is part of what we wrote:

The DeVos cartel contributed nearly $1 million to the Republican Senate Leadership Fund, which contributed money to several key GOP Senate candidates, like Tommy Tuberville in Alabama. Tuberville, the former Auburn football coach, also received $14,000 in campaign contributions from individual members of the DeVos cartel.

A distorted view of US Military History

Now, it is important to examine the comments of Senator Tuberville, specifically about White Nationalists in the US Military. According to a 2022 article in The Guardian: One in five applicants to the white supremacist group Patriot Front claimed to hold current or former ties to the US military, according to leaked documents published and reviewed by the Southern Poverty Law Center and alternative media collective Unicorn Riot. 

White Nationalists groups in the US have been know to join the US military as a way to recruit people to their cause and to promote White Supremacy. Hell, even an October 2020 report from the Pentagon acknowledges that White Nationals and White Supremacists have infiltrated the US Military. According to one source on the Pentagon’s report:

The Pentagon report said U.S. military personnel and veterans are “highly prized” recruits for supremacist groups, and leaders of those groups try to join the military themselves and get those already in their groups to enlist. Their goal is to obtain weapons and skills and to try to borrow the military’s bravado and cachet, the authors suggested.

Therefore, Tuberville’s comments above are either a reflection of his failure to acknowledge even the Pentagon’s assertion about White Nationalists or the Senator from Alabama embraces White Nationalism and White Supremacy. My guess is that it is a bit of both.

The US Military and White Supremacy

However, I have a fundamental problem with how this issue is being discussed. Yes, it seems clear that White Nationalists are encouraging their members to join the US military, to learn skills, and to recruit new members. But, if we think about White Nationalism and White Supremacy as systems and not as what individuals embrace, then we might have a different understanding of what the function of the US Military is.

Long time educator and activist, Elizabeth Martinez, who has been part of the Challenging White Supremacy Workshops over the years, provides us with this definition of White Supremacy.

With this definition, I would argue that the US Military, since it was founded, has been about the business of oppressing and exploiting other nations, beginning with Native Nations, for the purpose of defending a system of wealth, power and privilege. 

Look at the excellent chronological list of US military interventions that Professor Zoltan Grossman has put together, then tell me that these interventions overwhelmingly meet the definition of White Supremacy from Elizabeth Martinez.

The US Military has always been about expanding US territory, expanding access to resources for US-based Capitalists and in most cases intervening in non-White dominated countries. While I agree it is important to discuss and investigate White Nationalist infiltration of the US Military, we need to have an honest conversation about how the US Military has been used as a mechanism to conquer and amass wealth by those who benefit from a system of White Supremacy.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: