MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WHNT) — U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) is speaking out after a series of remarks he made at a Nevada rally earned labels like “racist” and “divisive” from state and national leaders.

“The issue is crime, not race, but the liberal media is intent on helping Democrats remain in power,” Tuberville said through a spokesperson on Monday, his first time acknowledging the controversial remarks.

“Crime has spiked nationwide under Democrats and their ‘Defund the Police’ policies, and I was pointing out the frustration many Americans share when I spoke last weekend,” he said.

At the rally on November 8, Tuberville said, in part:

No, they’re not soft on crime. They’re pro-crime.

They want crime because they want to take over what you got. They want to control what you have. They want reparations because they think the people that do the crime are owed that. They’re not owed that.

U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville

The remarks drew ire from Alabama Democratic leaders, the NAACP, civil rights groups, and even the White House.

Last week, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, “The president used to say, and I’ll quote the president right now: ‘Hate never goes away, it only hides, but lately, it’s just out in the open at these extreme MAGA rallies.”

Tuberville’s statement in response to the accusations of “racism” continued with:

Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and rioters have caused over $2 billion in damage to our cities since 2020.

Illegal immigrants and drugs are streaming cross our southern border in record numbers. Progressive prosecutors across the nation refuse to enforce laws they personally disagree with, and our communities are suffering because of it. Even Alabama Democrats want to satisfy the outrageous demands of murderers and rapists currently on work-strike in state prisons.

Democrats favor criminals over the victims through their actions and policies.

As a coach, building young people of character was one of top priorities. As a Senator, I want to ensure that we create policies at the national level that reinforce values such as integrity and accountability. I will continue to fight for safer communities and accountability for criminals. Americans should not live in fear.

U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville

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Crime statistics recorded by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), while robbery and property crime rates experienced drops of 8.9% and 4.5% respectively, the number of murders increased by 4.3%.

Overall, the FBI reported a 1.7% drop in total violent crime nationwide.