On MSNBC’s The Cycle yesterday afternoon, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) deflected hostile questions from host Ari Melber by stating the network should stop misrepresenting news, particularly in regards to his viewpoints.
Sen. Paul joined the show alongside Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) to discuss criminal justice reform, especially with stopping severe punishments for non-violent drug offenses, but Melber decided to ambush Paul by bringing up his 2010 comments about the Civil Rights Act.
“As we’re talking about restoring civil rights here, you stirred up a lot of controversy with the 2010 comments, [in which] you said at the time that you had concerns about the rules for private business while you support most of the Civil Rights Act,” Melber said. “Why did you evolve on rules for private business?”
Paul quickly countered by emphasizing that he has always been in favor of the Civil Rights Act.
“People need to get over themselves writing all this stuff that I’ve changed my mind on the Civil Rights Act,” he said. “Have I ever had a philosophical discussion about all aspects of it?”
“Yeah, and I learned my lesson: To come on MSNBC and have a philosophical discussion, the liberals will come out of the woodwork and go crazy and say you’re against the Civil Rights Act, and you’re some terrible racist.”
The senator from Kentucky said he took great objection to that because he thought there was nobody else in Congress working harder than him to protect voting rights and to stop unjust prison terms.
“So I take great offense to people who want to portray me as something that I’m not,” he added.
Instead of moving on to another topic, however, Melber simply continued his attack on Paul, which ultimately backfired.
“But when you said, well, here’s where the rules for private businesses are concerning, why not explain that you’ve evolved on that?” He asked.
Paul said it’s because he was never opposed to the Civil Rights Act to begin with.
“I’m not willing to engage with people who are misrepresenting my viewpoint on this,” he stated. “For people to say that, really, they don’t want to have an honest discussion about it.”
“The honest discussion of it would be that I never was opposed to the Civil Rights Act and when your network does 24-hour news telling the truth, then maybe we can get somewhere with the discussion.”
Later that day, Paul told the student group Young Americans for Liberty that he won’t appear on MSNBC again until it apologizes for pushing the “lousy lies” about his policies, especially since he went on the network to discuss his bipartisan criminal justice legislation.
“We’re trying to make this not a partisan issue, but you go on a network that wants to make everything about partisanship,” he stated.