Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Alabama) told reporters on Tuesday that he believes a white nationalist is simply “an American,” rejecting any assertions that white nationalists are inherently racist.

In an interview on CNN’s The Source, Tuberville was asked to explain a statement that he made back in May when he said that white nationalists should not be banned from serving in the military.

“If you’re going to do away with most white people in this country out of the military, we got huge problems,” Tuberville argued, going on to explain that white supremacists “have a few, probably different beliefs” than other white people.

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Tubervile explained his belief that Democratic rhetoric has tainted the term “white nationalist.”

“My opinion of a white nationalist – if somebody wants to call them a white nationalist – to me is an American. It’s an American,” he said. “Now, if that white nationalist is a racist, I’m totally against anything they want to do, because I am 110% against racism.”

“I’m totally against racism,” Tuberville continued, attempting to shut down any criticism that he may have invited. “If the Democrats say that a white nationalist, in which they said, well, that’s the definition, then I’m totally against white nationalists… Everybody’s got a different — but I’m not getting into definitions — but I am totally against any form of racism, always have been.”

Following the interview, Democrats condemned Tuberville for his ambiguity on the subject.

“GOP Senator Tuberville has been on a one-man mission to defend white nationalism and even suggest that white nationalism is ‘American,'” tweeted Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York). “To speculate about what white nationalism means as if it’s some fun little thought experiment is deeply disturbing.”

Tuberville has been making headlines recently for blocking military promotions over his objection to a Defense Department abortion policy that allows service members to request leave for “non-covered reproductive health services.”

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