VESTAVIA HILLS — Two of the leading Republican Senate candidates appeared at a meeting of the Mid-Alabama Republican Club (MARC) on Saturday. U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) and former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville stressed their conservative credentials to the around 100 attendees in the room.
Both candidates took pleasure in the events of the past week that have largely benefitted Republicans; they quipped about the disastrous rollout of the Iowa caucuses and the much-maligned ripping of President Donald Trump’s speech by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
In what was perhaps the most interesting comment of the day, Tuberville said, “I’ve been in the cities, folks, you can’t drive through a neighborhood. Why? Because terrorism has taken over. Sharia Law has taken over. Folks, there [are] places you can go in this country that you’re not wanted. In our country. I mean this is not the Middle East.”
Tuberville continued, “It is wrong to come here and [not] go by our Constitution and go by our laws. And you’re welcome, I don’t care what religion you are, what culture you’re from, we’re in the most giving country in the world.”
“But my goodness, if we’re going to allow them to change our culture, and our country. Because they’re going to get their hands on the Constitution one day, and when they do it’s over. They want to get it for one reason: that Electoral College. If they ever knock that out we’re done, we’re done,” he added.
“We’ve allowed it to happen. Washington, D.C. and our elected officials have allowed it to happen. And it is embarrassing, it really is,” Tuberville concluded.
The Tuberville campaign later clarified Tuberville’s Sharia Law assertion that “Sharia Law is taking over.”
“If 9/11 taught us anything, it’s the fact that there are those living among us who wish to do us harm. Those individuals place Sharia law ahead of the U.S. Constitution. Terrorism takes many forms, and it is constantly evolving. We must be vigilant not only against terrorist efforts to do harm with bombs and other methods, but also against efforts to infiltrate our government and use it to spread ideas and philosophies that are not in America’s best interests,” a statement from the campaign read.
In other parts of his speech, Tuberville called for the abolition of the U.S. Department of Education and said he thought the modern system of education was leading America’s children towards socialist views and disrespectful behavior.
When it was time for Byrne to speak, the energetic congressman expressed his elation by the week’s developments in Washington, D.C.
“Monday night, the Democrats did us an incredible favor, they showed to the entire world that they’re incompetent. They couldn’t run a simple caucus. They’re still trying to count the votes!” he exclaimed to start his remarks.
“I was proud [President Donald Trump] called out my bill, the school choice bill, that he and Secretary Devos asked me to sponsor in the House and Senator Cruz to sponsor in the Senate,” Byrne said of the State of the Union.
“Wednesday, finally, they acquitted the president,” he said to applause in the room, before adding, “We had some fun at the White House Thursday.”
Thursday was the acquittal celebration for the end of the impeachment process. At the ceremony, Trump cited a number of Republicans who had been his strongest defenders through the impeachment process, including Alabama’s Byrne.
Trump said, “Bradley Byrne, Alabama, what a great place, thank you, Bradley.”
“I was honored that he invited me to be among about a dozen house members to come,” Byrne told forum attendees.
“We need someone who has a proven track record of fighting and winning,” Byrne said as evidence of why he should be the Republican nominee.
He went on to detail his much-praised work cleaning up the community college system in the 2000s, an ordeal during which Byrne claims he had to fight with corrupt Democrats.
In his closing pitch, Byrne said, “There’s a swamp in Washington, D.C., and President Trump is cleaning it up. He needs fighters, like me, proven fighters — ones that he shouted out on Thursday in the White House, to stand up with him. Give me that vote, I’ll do that. For you, for him, for the country.”
Byrne’s pitch resonated with Don Ammons, a voter in attendance on Saturday. “He has demonstrated he can get things done. He’s a good spokesman for the state of Alabama,” said Ammons when asked by Yellowhammer News for his preference in candidates.
Prominent conservative activist Grady Thornton, who is running to be a Trump delegate, told Yellowhammer that he was leaving the meeting still undecided.
“I’m very impressed with both of them. We will have a good senator. … Each one has a personality that will lend itself to leadership,” he stated.
Jefferson County Commissioner Steve Ammons, who is president of MARC, said he liked both candidates and was glad his club could provide a platform for their speeches.
The Alabama Republican primary is March 3.
Byrne at MARC, 2/8/20.
Tuberville at MARC, 2/8/20