Trump ‘made a mistake’ in raucous rally speech, Tuberville says

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President Donald Trump “made a mistake” when he ignited thousands of supporters in a rally speech last week that preceded some of those supporters storming the U.S. Capitol in an effort to overturn election results, U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville said Wednesday.

The comments from Tuberville about Trump were perhaps unexpected, given the devotion the former Auburn football coach has demonstrated during his campaign toward the president. Tuberville is among Trump’s staunchest supporters in the Senate.

Tuberville spoke to reporters about two hours after the House voted to impeach Trump for the second time for his “incitement of insurrection,” according to the impeachment article.

Despite that “mistake,” though, Tuberville said impeachment was a waste of time and that he would not vote to convict Trump during the Senate trial.

“I was up there last week during this thing and President Trump made a mistake,” Tuberville said. “He knows it, he admitted it.”

Trump has not admitted making a mistake in his public comments over the past week. Speaking to reporters in Texas on Tuesday, the president said, “People thought that what I said was totally appropriate,” The Associated Press reported.

Asked if Trump should not face any consequences for his “mistake,” Tuberville said the protesters were going to seize the Capitol whether Trump made a speech or not.

“You can blame a lot of things on a lot of people,” Tuberville said. “There was over a half-million people there. Only very few people did what they did. Most of the people were under control. They were up there to show their support. It’s just unfortunate it happened. To me, you can’t just blame it on anybody. Whether he gave a speech or not, I think those 200 people or so (who pushed past police to illegally entered the Capitol), something was going to happen.”

The country needs to move forward from the chaotic events of last week, Tuberville said.

“President-elect Biden will take over next week and we don’t need any animosity,” the senator said. “We need to go forward to help the people of this country and quit worrying about politics. I’ve never seen just going up there for a few weeks, people want to do things that don’t really mean anything. They don’t want to help the people who pay the taxes that want to live a better life. That wasa  big deal. Again, President Trump made a mistake. Some people lost their lives. We don’t need that in this country. We do not need it.

“The people who did that need to go to jail. And if we have any more of it, we need to continue to put people in jail. We’ve become a lawless country in the last seven or eight months. There’s been a lot of destruction and that needs to stop. We need to back up the American people and the people in Washington D.C. need to start speaking for the American people and quit worrying about politics.”

During his visit to Huntsville on Wednesday, Tuberville also praised Sen. Richard Shelby for his work bringing U.S. Space Command headquarters to Redstone Arsenal. Barbara Barrett, secretary of the Air Force, made the announcement earlier in the day.

Tuberville said Barrett made clear to him during a conversation Wednesday morning that the decision on Huntsville is final, despite a chorus of protests from officials in Colorado where the command is currently located.

“Huntsville is growing and growing and growing and this is just going to add to it,” he said. “It’s a natural because of Redstone Arsenal and the infrastructure. It’s not going to cost taxpayers billions of dollars to build different infrastructure. Everything kind of goes along with it. We’re excited about it. Sen. Shelby did a great job. We’re appreciative of all the congressmen who helped out.”