3 weeks ago

Tuberville dings Trump for veterans’ health care problems, addresses ‘carpetbagger’ label, tax dodging allegations in Shoals appearances

FLORENCE — Make no mistake about it: Former Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville does not hold back when something is on his mind, and Saturday morning he backed up that reputation that has followed him from his coaching career and into politics.

During an appearance before a meeting of the Shoals Republican Club, Tuberville, a candidate in the 2020 U.S. Senate election in Alabama, delivered a wide-ranging stem-winder reiterating his alignment with President Donald Trump on many issues. However, Tuberville argued there were areas where even Trump needed to be better.

The Muscle Shoals appearance was the first of a series in the area that also included stops at the Cornerstone Church of Christ in Florence with former University of Alabama standout cornerback Antonio Langham to raise money for children in Haiti and another at the Shoals Chamber of Commerce in Florence, where he fielded questions during a town hall-style event.


Near the entrance of the venue for the morning Shoals Republican Club event, someone posted a printed-out photo of Tuberville that was adjoined by the dictionary definition of the word “carpetbagger,” a label given to Tuberville by some of his opponents.

TVA Community Credit Union ‘Carpetbagger’ sign, 8/3/2019

Although he did not acknowledge the posting, he did address the “carpetbagger” label and seemed to embrace it by calling himself a “carpetbagger of this country.”

“Yes, I’m not an everyday resident of Alabama,” Tuberville said. “That’s going to be brought up. I’ve been here most of the last 20 years. I’ve had property. So, you’ll see that on TV – ‘He’s a carpetbagger.’ Yeah, I’m a carpetbagger of this country. I love this country. I love this state. I’m a carpetbagger. I pay a lot of taxes. I brag about that because I’m fortunate I’ve made a little money in my lifetime. I can do this and not take any money.”

As far as his critique of the current commander-in-chief, Tuberville focused on military veterans’ health care, primarily the problems plaguing the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. However, Tuberville added a caveat to his remarks by noting he did not think Trump was getting much help.

“I’m pissed off at Donald Trump that our vets can’t get health care,” he said. “And if I ever get to see him, I’m going to tell him that. You said you were going to fix it and it ain’t fixed. And that’s who we ought to be taking care of — these young men and women. I’ve had them come up to me and cry. ‘Coach, we can’t get health care. Nobody will take care of us.’ 22 vets every day – every day are committing suicide. We can’t take care of them. We won’t take care of them. We’re paying for illegals to come over here – everything they’re getting: cell phones, health care, everything they want. That’s Donald Trump’s fault. That’s his fault. He’s got to get it done. That’s one of the most important things I think we need to do because we send young men and women over to fight for us, put their life on the line and we don’t take care of them? What are we doing? What are we doing?”

“I’m a Donald Trump guy, but there are things that he hasn’t done yet that we got to get done,” he continued. “And I think he’s had to fight every battle by himself. He can’t get to all of them because nobody is helping him. Nobody is standing up for him.”

Tuberville argued Republicans on Capitol Hill could do more and vowed to be more outspoken as a U.S. Senator. He also took aim at Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), who is a vocal critic of Trump.

“Sooner or later, we’re going to start sending people up there that will call the kettle black, OK?” Tuberville said. “You’re looking at one. You hear me right now – this is how I feel. I’m even going to be worse than this when I go to Washington, D.C. I’m going to be worse than this, on the Republican side as well as the Democrat side. Somebody has got to tell those Republican, ‘Hey, get a backbone or go home.’”

“Mitt Romney? You’ve got to be kidding me,” he continued. “You’ve got to be kidding me. What country are you for? What are you for? Do you stand for anything? Do you stand for anything? You know, it’s really mind-boggling.”

Immediately after speaking to the Muscle Shoals group, Tuberville departed for the Cornerstone Church of Christ fundraiser. However, Yellowhammer News was able to catch up with Tuberville after his Shoals Chamber of Commerce town hall in Florence to ask follow-up questions about his earlier remarks.

On veterans’ issues:

YH: You are pretty passionate about veterans, and you made a comment about Trump maybe not being as satisfactory in dealing with veterans’ issues. What led you to say that, and what could he do better?

TUBERVILLE: His agenda, he has pretty much tried to follow up on everything, and there’s a couple of things other than that. That’s one of them, and that’s one of the things I’m hearing across the state. They say, “Coach, we love the president, but we’ve got to have something done with the VA.” People are passionate about that. They’re not getting any help, and I don’t know where it’s going to come from.

But the thing with President Trump — he’s got his buckets full, and I can understand that. My point is he is not getting a lot of help from people that also understand the situation. They’re not standing up and speaking out. You know, he could get a lot more help from Congress. Obviously, he is not going to get a lot of help from the Democrats. But I think the Republicans can stand up and push that agenda for him and help him.

That was one of his huge stances when he was running, and I’m starting to hear from people saying, “We’re waiting for it. We’re waiting for help.” And he’s addressed a lot of the situation. He’s having to work his way through bureaucracy.

On the “carpetbagger” label:

YH: The “carpetbagger” question — you came out and said you were a carpetbagger. I don’t know if you were being literal or facetious, but talk about what you were trying to get at there.

TUBERVILLE: They don’t have a lot to come at me with because I don’t have a record of voting. All that I’m going to have a record of is where I’ve lived, where I’ve worked. Fortunately for me, when I left Auburn, I went to other places and worked. That’s what you got to do. You’ve got to get a job. But you know, I’ve had several houses, a farm in Auburn. I knew I was moving back. I chose to move back. I think that’s huge when you choose the place you want to live. And I chose Auburn. I chose Auburn to educate both my kids, most of it 1-12, then obviously college.

I’m just saying, that’s what they’re going to call me. Obviously, I am not. I am a guy that has taken jobs.

I don’t really know what the word means. I’ve just read what they’ve said, and the main thing is that I’ve lived here a majority for the last 20 years and I chose to come back — most of my friends are here. And I hope my two boys move back, so I don’t have to chase them all over the country.

YH: Do you have any idea or suspicions where that charge is coming from, or what the source of it is?

TUBERVILLE: They just know I was bouncing around for the last seven or eight years of coaching at different places. And there’s no doubt about that. I’m on record for living in Ohio and Texas and then moving back here.

Of course, I had to live in Florida when I worked for ESPN just to live next to an airport because I flew all the time. And when I gave that up, I moved back and started looking at retirement then started looking at this position when we had a Democrat elected.

YH: Some of your critics have said you lived in Florida to avoid income tax because Florida doesn’t have an income tax and Alabama does. Is there any truth to that?

TUBERVILLE: No, I don’t need the money. I don’t even know what the difference in tax is, to be honest with you. No, there’s no validity to that at all.

YH: The airport question — the Atlanta airport is what, an hour and a half from Auburn, not too far.

TUBERVILLE: This was about ten minutes, and you fly all the time. Saved a lot of time and effort. I mean, that’s a little bit different than going through that airport. I’ve done that many, many times.

On the effort to back Trump from Romney and other Republican lawmakers:

TUBERVILLE: [Trump] is trying to handle all these situations, and he’s getting zero help from the Democrats. And he’s getting a good percentage of help from the Republicans. But he could probably get more.

You know, that’s the reason I came out and said something about Mitt Romney. There are some good things he’s done. President Trump comes out and supports him. I voted for Mitt Romney when he ran for president.

To me, sometimes these guys could hold back on criticism and not say anything instead of coming out and saying something, especially about the racism deal. He’s our president. We got to back him, and if he’s not going to get backing from Republicans, he’s dang sure not going to get it from other people.

YH: Dealing with your potential future colleagues in the United States Senate, how do you view Mitch McConnell as a leader and perhaps working with Senator [Richard] Shelby, Alabama’s senior senator — do you foresee any problems given your pledge to be your own guy, and in the Senate and especially the Republican caucus, they kind of expect you to go along to get along? How do you feel about that culture there?

TUBERVILLE: You’ve got to work with all of them. The Republicans are going to have 53 or 54 senators. You’ve got to work with all of them, and I think that’s the strong point in selling myself, getting people to trust me.

I’m going to vote for the people of Alabama. I’m not going to vote for a party. I’m going to vote for what’s going to help the people here. I think we’ve gotten away from that some. I think we’ve got to vote the voice of the people, your constituents. If you do that, I think everything else will work together.

I’m not against any of those people up there. I’m a strong Trump guy. I think he needs somebody else. He’s got a lot of people, but somebody that he knows he can count on, to be a voice for him.

Now, am I going to vote for him every time? I’m not going to say that, no.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University, the editor of Breitbart TV and host of “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN in Huntsville.

1 min ago

Alabama Dem. chair doubles down on racism charges against DNC, Jones — Will ‘be burning in hell for taking away people’s voting rights’

The rollercoaster internal battle among Alabama Democrats and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) reached another milestone on Thursday when a DNC committee voted to recommend stripping Alabama Democratic Party Chair Nancy Worley and Vice-chair Randy Kelley of their credentials.

The committee decision will now go before the full DNC this weekend for a final vote.

The vote in San Francisco, CA, came after a committee hearing in which Worley passionately doubled down on charges recently made against the DNC and those looking to unseat Worley, led by Senator Doug Jones (D-AL).

Per The Montgomery Advertiser, Worley said the Jones-led efforts are simply a reaction to last year’s state party elections not going to his liking.

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“The problem is if we had not won that election … there never would have been a challenge,” Worley said. “And so it all had to do with who won and who was mad because we’ve won.”

She also emotionally suggested her opponents were undermining the legacy of civil rights activists in Alabama by looking to take power away from black Americans in the state party.

“You’re going to be burning in hell for taking away people’s voting rights,” Worley declared.

This escalated the sentiment expressed by Alabama Democratic Party Secretary Val Bright last week when she penned an open letter accusing Jones and the DNC of racism.

“Although blacks have been faithful to the Democratic Party and are largely responsible for electing Doug Jones and any white seeking office in this state, once elected on the backs of blacks, the urgency to remove black leadership begins,” Bright wrote.

“In other words, as long as we’re working in the fields all is well, but when we move to positions of authority, a challenge begins,” she added. “From slavery through Reconstruction, Jim Crow and the Civil Rights movement, we are constantly being shown how little respect blacks receive for being hard working and loyal.”

Bright went on to say the electoral challenge to Worley is “a smoke screen to make it appear that Jones and the DNC is not attacking his true target, blacks.”

State Rep. John Rogers (D-Birmingham) on Wednesday told Yellowhammer News he disagrees with Bright’s charges of racism against Jones.

According to Gulf Coast News Today, Jones defended himself to members of the Baldwin County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in recent days.

“I know voices in this state are questioning my commitment to the African American community,” Alabama’s junior senator said. “Because I have had the audacity recently to challenge those who have controlled the Democratic party for a generation and clung to power despite the fact the party has been spiraling towards extinction under their watch … because I believe a viable two-party system is the only way for a state to truly progress and build on the NAACP mission of prosperity for all.”

“If my life’s work … are not enough let me be crystal clear, I am with you. I am there for you. I have never left you and together we will remain vigilant in the mission of the NAACP, our shared mission and we’ll keep on a walking, keep on a talking and we’re not going to let nobody turn us around until the promise of America is made real for all Americans,” Jones added.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

33 mins ago

2019 Yellowhammer ‘News Shapers’ series continues with second rural broadband installment

Join the Yellowhammer News team Tuesday, September 17 for a “Yellowhammer News Shapers” event in Dothan.

Entitled, “Connecting Alabama’s rural communities,” the event is Yellowhammer’s second on rural broadband this year. This latest installment will focus on building partnerships and community awareness.

The event will feature a networking reception followed by a live forum on expanding broadband access and technology across the Yellowhammer State.

Confirmed forum panelists include State Senator Donnie Chesteen (R-Geneva); Brad Kimbro, CEO of Wiregrass Electric Cooperative; Jimmy Copeland, director of special projects for Troy Cablevision, Inc.; Dr. Carmen Lewis, associate dean of Troy University’s Sorrell College; and Sean Strickler, vice president public affairs of the Alabama Rural Electric Association.  

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Areas of focus will include exploring partnerships that work, implementation obstacles and best practices, community awareness and future needs and next steps for program advancement.

The event will be held in Everett Hall on Troy University’s Dothan campus: 502 University Drive, Dothan, AL 36303.

The reception will begin at 5:00 p.m., with the moderated forum to follow at 5:20 p.m.

Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Please contact courtney@yellowhammernews.com for more information.

The legislative edition of Yellowhammer News Shapers kicked off 2019’s series and was followed by the rural broadband edition on July 18 in Guntersville, “Prepare for Launch” in Huntsville on July 31 and “West Alabama and the coal industry” on August 8 in Jasper.

More Yellowhammer News Shapers events will take place across the state this year. The series is non-partisan, on-the-record and designed to localize issues and highlight thought leaders.

Continue to visit Yellowhammernews.com for announcements during the 2019 calendar year.

1 hour ago

Limestone County sheriff’s attorney blasts ‘draconian’ ethics act after indictment

After it was announced on Thursday that longtime Limestone County Sheriff Michael Anthony “Mike” Blakely has been indicted on 13 state ethics counts, separate press conferences featuring his personal attorneys and the spokesperson for the sheriff’s department pumped the breaks on those looking to equate Blakely merely being charged with actually being guilty.

First, Mark McDaniel, the lead attorney for Blakely’s defense, emphasized that the sheriff would be entering in a plea of “not guilty” on all counts and looks forward to trying the case in a court of his peers.

WHNT carried McDaniel’s comments to the media, in which he emphasized that a large part of the defense will be challenging the constitutionality of Alabama’s ethics statute.

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“Virtually anything you do as a public servant now under that act is illegal, so we’ll be contesting the constitutionality of the ethics act also,” McDaniel said.

He called the ethics act “draconian” and added he will file a motion asking the court to strike it down.

Asked what about the ethics act they will be challenging, McDaniel responded, “A lot of things.”

McDaniel specified that one of those things will be how overly “broad” the statute is.

“You don’t even know what you’ve done [wrong],” he added, saying that the public should stay tuned to see their motions “attacking” the ethics act’s issues.

In a press conference shortly afterwards, Limestone County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Stephen Young stressed that Blakely continues to serve as the sheriff and that the department’s operations will not be affected by the ongoing legal situation.

Young also cautioned people about utilizing indictments as indicators of guilt.

“A grand jury indictment is not a conviction,” Young advised. “In fact, it’s the process typically used when an agency cannot obtain enough probable cause to obtain its own warrant. As Sheriff Blakely once told me, ‘You can indict a ham sandwich.’”

Watch:

Blakely served in the U.S. Marine Corps and as an Alabama State Trooper before becoming the county sheriff in 1983. He has also served as an officer in the Alabama National Guard.

McDaniel said it is an “honor” to represent the sheriff and that he is “proud” to defend Blakely against the charges.

The attorney noted that Blakely “absolutely” intended to continue serving. The sheriff was back at work immediately after posting bond on Thursday.

A Democrat, Blakely is the longest-serving sheriff in state history. He won the statewide “Bobby Timmons Sheriff of the Year Award” as recently as 2017.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

3 hours ago

Alabama postpones 50th anniversary tour over singer’s health

Country band Alabama says it is postponing the remainder of its 50th anniversary tour as lead singer Randy Owen battles health complications.

The group announced Wednesday that the 69-year-old Owen is suffering from migraines and vertigo, and doctors say he needs more time to recover.

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The news comes after a string of already-canceled shows due to the singer’s health.

Bass player and vocalist Teddy Gentry wrote in a statement that though he and the rest of the band are disappointed, Owen’s recovery is the priority.

The 50-city tour was scheduled through Nov. 23, where it would have ended in Salisbury, Maryland.

Rescheduled dates will be released in the coming weeks.
(Associated Press, copyright 2019)

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How Alabama’s Iron Tribe Fitness sets the standard for group workouts

Iron Tribe Fitness, founded in Birmingham, Alabama, is leading the way for workout programs across the nation. Ranked as one of the top five workouts in the nation, this 45-minute HIIT group workout class offers participants exciting and effective workouts in a time frame that works with any kind of schedule.

Recently, the gym hosted Coach 201, a weekend training session for their instructors in their downtown Birmingham corporate location. This session brought together all of Iron Tribe’s local coaching staff to review training guidelines and program goals.

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In hosting this training, Iron Tribe is living out their core value of delivering a consistent experience. Forrest Walden, Iron Tribe’s founder and CEO says this training session taps into the heart of what the program does — which is creating communities that change lives.

“It’s always great to see the entire team come together to fellowship and dive deep into why we do what we do every day,” Walden said.

During the training, Iron Tribe coaches were given the opportunity to learn more about the classes they teach and strengthen their relationships with each other. As a result, the coaches are empowered to return to their home gyms and lead their athletes with renewed skills and confidence.

“Kyle Sottung, our director of product development, is extremely thorough and talented at what he does. To see him lead our Birmingham coaches is always such a blessing. Our coaches are more empowered now than ever to pour into the Birmingham community,” Walden stated.

According to Walden, Iron Tribe is successful because the program is more than just a workout, but a way to strengthen the communities they serve.

“Iron Tribe stands on a list off essential core beliefs. These beliefs steer what we do every day, both inside and outside the gym. It’s our hope that by continuing to develop ourselves that we can be exceptional coaches and role models within our communities,” Walden said.

Ready to get in the best shape of your life? Learn more by visiting irontribefitness.com.