Over the weekend, Rand Paul did a good, some would even say socialist thing: He begged President Joe Biden to send federal aid to Kentucky, the state that’s been the hardest hit by a recent spate of tornadoes — and, incidentally, also the state he represents in Congress. It was a kind and humane move on his part. And it was also very unlike him. The Republican senator has a long history of voting against similar aid packages to other states that have been impacted by natural disasters. And when people pointed that out, Paul got real mad.
Fox News’ Sandra Smith: Critics have pointed out that you are asking for federal aid for Kentucky but opposed it for Hurricane Sandy.
Rand Paul: “It’s sad. We haven’t buried our dead yet and networks like CNN are, frankly, just dishonest people and saying things that are untrue” pic.twitter.com/JLhkvfTX6b
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) December 14, 2021
The senator went on Fox News, which recently became even more of a Republican safe space following the sudden departure of Chris Wallace. Host Sandra Smith brought up his voting record as well, but in a much friendlier way, framing it as a personal attack. And it nicely teed up Paul to strike back, mostly with name-calling, questionable shaming, and spin.
“It’s sad. We haven’t buried our dead yet and networks like CNN were, frankly, they’re fundamentally dishonest people saying things that are untrue,” Paul told Fox News. “When I was first elected in 2010, within months, I was advocating for disaster relief for Kentucky. I’ve never had a problem with the program. I’ve never really opposed disaster relief for any part of the country.”
That, however, was untrue. Paul opposed relief packages in the wakes of Hurricane Sandy in 2013, Hurricanes Maria and Harvey in 2017, and he was against a broader disaster relief effort in 2019. So Paul tried to spin his votes, basically by not mentioning that he voted against them:
“But I have said, when it goes over budget, when we spend everything that’s within our budget, that it should be paid for by taking money from places in the budget from places that are less essential. I think that’s a very reasonable fiscally conservative. But, you know, you watch CNN and you have people who basically all they care about is attack, attack, attack.
Paul kept calling CNN dishonest, saying, “All they’re going to do is basically lie to people. But it’s also why nobody wants to watch them anymore. They used to be a trusted source of news and now, my goodness, it’s just a factory of lies and partisanship and I don’t know how anybody can watch it anymore.”
Speaking of lies, Paul was briefly banned on YouTube earlier this year after spreading misinformation about masks.