Rachel Maddow To Rand Paul: Yes, You Did Question The Civil Rights Act

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow excoriated Rand Paul on Wednesday for telling Howard University students that he had “never wavered” in his support of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. 

“It’s one thing to have a sketchy record on racial discrimination and basic civil rights law that you don’t want to defend,” Maddow said of his speech at the historic black college. “It’s another thing to be condescending enough to think you can get away with flat out lying about it.”

As TPM noted in its coverage of his speech, Paul famously attacked provisions of the bill banning discrimination by businesses, such as hotels and restaurants, for undermining private property rights in an interview on Maddow’s show in 2010. He made similar comments to NPR and a local newspaper in Kentucky, but eventually backed down and said he would have supported the bill and federal intervention on race. 

Maddow replayed a clip of his interview with the Louisville Courier-Journal from 2010, where Paul first expressed his concerns about the Civil Rights Act. The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler, who runs the paper’s fact checker blog, also cited the quote in awarding Paul “three pinocchios” for rewriting his record at Howard. 

PAUL: I like the Civil Rights Act in the sense that it ended discrimination in all public domains, and I’m all in favor of that.

INTERVIEWER: But?

PAUL: You had to ask me the “but.” I don’t like the idea of telling private business owners — I abhor racism. I think it’s a bad business decision to exclude anybody from your restaurant — but, at the same time, I do believe in private ownership. But I absolutely think there should be no discrimination in anything that gets any public funding, and that’s most of what I think the Civil Rights Act was about in my mind. 

 Watch Maddow: 

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