Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) took off his microphone and left a contentious interview on Wednesday when a CNN reporter asked repeatedly about racist articles published in his newsletter in the 1980s and 1990s.
“It’s been going on 20 years that I’ve been pestered about this and CNN does it every time,” Paul said, clearly adjitated by the line of questioning. “When are you going to wear yourself out?”
The Texas congressman said that the articles – which did not carry a byline – were written by his publishing staff and that he did not know about them at the time.
“I didn’t write them, I didn’t read them at the time, and I disavow them. That is the answer,” Paul said.
When CNN reporter Gloria Berger defended her questioning as legitimate – noting that some of the articles were “pretty incendiary” – Paul began to remove his microphone.
The newsletters, mainly a forum for essay’s on Paul’s brand of libertarianism, once referred to Martin Luther King Jr. as “the world-class philanderer who beat up his paramours” and who “seduced underage girls and boys.”
In another article, the author writes that “given the inefficiencies of what DC laughingly calls the criminal justice system, I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal.”
The newsletters have long been an issue for Paul. In 2008, the congressman explained that he did not know who had written the offending essays and that they did not represent his views.
Before leaving the CNN interview, Paul admitted to having made money off the publication of the materials, but disputed a report in the New Republic that he had earned more than $1 million from the newsletter.
It’s been an open secret for years that Ron Paul is a nutjob libertarian. But he has a small army of dedicated supporters (aka “Paultards”) who donate to his campaigns and who vote for him in straw polls, boosting his early numbers. I’m guessing the GOP let Paul hang around and treated him like a second-tier contender in hopes that they wouldn’t alienate his supporters for the general election.
Ta-Nehisi Coates discusses Paul’s “Old News” more in detail here. It’s some ugly stuff.
If he didn’t write them, who did? It was his newsletter. Who was on his publishing staff?
Expect to hear more about this topic in the next few weeks and days.
BTW – As you might guess from the title on the video, it was posted by a Paultard.