Sen. Rand Paul told an MSNBC host Wednesday he'll be happy to discuss his views on the Civil Rights Act "when your network does 24-hour news telling the truth."
The Kentucky Republican appeared as a guest on "The Cycle" along with Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey to discuss the pair's push
for criminal justice reform.
The two agree that blacks are disproportionally affected by the legal system.
That prompted host Ari Melber to ask if his support for the REDEEM Act meant he had "evolved" in his views on the Civil Rights Act as it affects private businesses. Melber was referring to Paul's 2010 discussion with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow in which she asked him about his reported comments to a newspaper that private businesses should not be held to the same anti-discriminatory rules as the government.
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Paul at the time said he favored the Civil Rights Act and was opposed to any form of discrimination. MSNBC hosts since then have accused Paul of opposing sections of the act.
"What I would say to be fair to myself, because I like to be fair to myself, is that I’ve always been in favor of the Civil Rights Act," Paul told Melber on Wednesday. "People need to get over themselves writing all this stuff that I’ve changed my mind on the Civil Rights Act."
He continued: "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 they will go crazy and say you’re against the Civil Rights Act, and you’re some terrible racist."
Paul said he takes "great objection" to the charge because no one in Congress is trying harder to restore voting rights to black people and make the criminal justice system more fair.
"Half-a-dozen people on your network trying to say I’m opposed to the Civil Rights Act," Paul said. "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."
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