U.S. Senate Republican candidate Tommy Tuberville warned at a Jasper lunch Friday that he is running because the country was headed in the wrong direction, but praised President Trump's agenda and actions.
"I wish I didn't have to do it, but our politicians have let us down," he said. "I hate to talk bad about anybody but we're in trouble."
The former Auburn football coach - who afterward took a number of photos with the roughly 40 people who attended the lunch at Los Reyes - was critical of former Sen. Jeff Sessions, who is also running in the March 3 Republican primary to get his seat back. The incumbent, Democrat Doug Jones, is also running.
Sessions spoke the night before in Jasper at a Walker County Republican Party meeting.
"This thing is close," Tuberville said. An aide said afterward Sessions is ahead by only a few points in polling. Sessions has indicated internal polling showing a wide margin.
Tuberville said he was not a politician, saying he was "sick of them. All you have to do is watch TV for five seconds. Our country is in trouble." He said he doesn't have to run. ("I'm a politician's worst nightmare; I don't need a job.") However, he is doing this for the his family and others, and will give any salary to Alabama veterans.
"I'm not going to be politically correct. I'm tired of that, because we're giving our country away, folks," he said. "Somebody will do something, say something, and we're afraid to say something back. There's nothing in the Constitution that says you can't have your feelings hurt. We need to start hurting people's feelings," including those coming after the nation.
The country has "a huge disease" that starts with career politicians in Washington who only want to be re-elected to get a paycheck, he said. "They want to go back up there and be in the club. I could care less about that. I could care less about being on TV again, or being on the radio. I've done that all my life."
While he said the nation once could work though its problems, but divisions have gotten worse.
"I'm a Donald Trump fan because he is not a politician" and is the first to try to go to Washington to complete an agenda, Tuberville said. Others, including Republicans "have fought him at every turn "because if they solve problems it means they have nothing to run on the next time. They could have solved the problem at the border years ago."
Tuberville said socialism is "coming right over the top of us" and would be reversible if it takes hold. "They have got momentum that is unbelievable," he said.
He was critical of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the State of the Union laughing and tearing up a copy of Trump's speech. "They know deep in their heart they are fixing to take this country over," he said, saying when things get rough too many Republicans "crawl underneath the table because they are afraid they will have to make a decision and they won't get re-elected."
While he said Trump has corrected the economy, the debt, health insurance and law enforcement have challenges. "Our military was shellacked. We have 60 million people on welfare. Our education has gone to pot. And these people want to run again and go back to Washington, D.C.?" he said.
Tuberville then criticized Sessions.
"The swamp has made sure I might not get elected because I had it won, and they took a guy who rolled up there 20 years and he had to put his big pants on to be attorney general. Well, he forgot to put them on and he backed out on our president," he said. "Now they are putting him back there to win, because they think they can beat me because he has a lot of name recognition. He does, but so do I."
He said politicians "buy elections" through advertising. He said he would buy some but doesn't have money they have. "I'm getting my money from this state. They are getting their money from Washington, D.C.," he said, adding that once elected they would vote for Washington interests instead of constituent interests.
Tuberville said he wanted Trump to win re-election and then he wanted to help Trump by "taking that stick out of his hand and give him a dang baseball bat because that is what we need. He needs to start swinging."
He likened reaction to Trump to being a dictatorship, saying they don't accept that Trump was elected and running the country, leading opponents to destroy that.
"They are even cheating on their primary so the right guy that only has a chance to beat him probably gets elected," he said. "They can't even play fair in their own elections."
Tuberville said he believed in term limits, but noted the framers of the Constitution never believed anyone would want to go to Congress for a living.
He said the incumbent senator, Doug Jones, doesn't just need to be sent home. "We need to send him to California where he is getting all his money," he said. Jones spent $22 million to defeat Republican Roy Moore, and $15 million came from one city block in San Francisco. "Who's he going to vote for? You can tell what he did two days ago," a reference to Jones' vote for conviction of the president in the Senate trial.
He was critical of former Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican, saying he was "bought and paid for" and "took a knee" so that nothing got done in the House. He said Ryan is now on the board of directors for Fox News.
"I wonder why Jeff Sessions is on there everyday? It doesn't take much to figure it out," he said. "It's the swamp. They don't want people like me up there. They can't stand people like us."
Tuberville said people are going to be moving to Alabama in the next 10 years because of technology and manufacturing coming in due to water shortages in the west and the abundance of water in Alabama, plus being a good place to raise a family. The state needs to prepare for education and medical services as a result.
He lamented about God and prayer being taken out of schools in the 1960s, replacing God with metal detectors. Meanwhile, half the families have one or no parent, he said.
"We don't need to push religion. This country was built on Christianity," Tuberville said. "And there are other religions here, fine. But don't try to change us. We ain't changing. Our Constitution was built on 'God We Trust.'"
He warned that a survey showed if students voted in a presidential election, "we would be a communist socialist country" with the president and Congress full of communist and socialists "because they are brain washed. Not all of them, but 80 percent of them." He said 80 percent in the survey voted for socialists.
"If we don't change that, they are going to take it over," he said.
He said while "we're all immigrants," he said a high school up north he recently visited had 10 percent from other countries three years ago. Now that is up to 53 percent, and they can't speak English.
Tuberville said the nation loses 60,000 children a year to drug overdoses "and we never bring it up."
He said the U.S., not China, will cure the coronavirus. "That's the reason they let it out. They couldn't stop it. We're going to get affected here, and we have to find a cure for it, because they are not smart enough and we can pay for it, because we know how to do it," he said.
He said bureaucrats are running the nation, and he promoted an idea Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn promoted to move government agencies out of Washington, such as the Environmental Protection Agency to Houston or the Department of Agriculture to Kansas.
"Get every one of them out of there, because it is nothing but a den of thieves," he said.
He talked about his criticism of men dressed up like women on an LGBTQ float in an Opelika Christmas parade, saying that was a family parade with children. "Don't get in a Christmas parade and push that on people and kids," he said Friday. "It's embarrassing." However, he said they had "every right in the world to do it" if they wanted to.
"But I tell what, on one thing, I am against this transgender, guys turning into women, and winning all these state championships all over the country." He indicated it doesn't make sense "how we can even think about letting a thing like that happen. It just makes no sense."
On gun control, he said, "You know how I stand on Second Amendment. They ain't taking my guns." He said government wants to take guns "when the government steals all your money here in six or seven years. Then we go to try to fight them back, and we got rocks. Ask Venezuela."