For the past 20 years, Texas congressman Ron Paul has been trying to explain why newsletters containing racist statements were mailed to his supporters in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Now the issue has surfaced again in his current campaign for US president.
On Wednesday, Paul walked out of an interview with CNN after reporter Gloria Burger questioned him about racist views published in Ron Paul's Political Report, Ron Paul's Freedom Report and the Ron Paul Survival Report, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Among the offensive passages, according to the LA Times: “We are constantly told that it is evil to be afraid of black men, it is hardly irrational,” And: “Order was only restored in L.A. [after the 1992 riots] when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks.”
“I never read that stuff,” Paul told Borger in the CNN interview. “I was probably aware of it 10 years after it was written. And it’s been going on 20 years that people have pestered me about this. And CNN does it every single time. So when are you going to wear yourself out?”
“Is it a legitimate question to ask, that something went out under your name?” Borger pressed.
“And when you get the answer, it’s legitimate that you sort of take the answers I give,” Paul snapped back. “You know what the answer is? I didn’t write them, I didn’t read them at the time, and I disavow them. That is the answer.” Moments later, he removed his microphone and ended the interview.
USA Today noted that Paul had a different response when the Dallas Morning News asked him about the newsletters in 1996. According to USA Today, he defended them and took credit for writing at least some of them.
For example, USA Today reported, the Morning News asked him about the following statement: "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." Paul defended the statement, telling the Morning News, "These aren't my figures. That is the assumption you can gather from the report."
Paul spokesman Jesse Benton told USA Today that the newsletters were published when Paul was out of office and focusing on medicine, and he "did not write or approve the incendiary passages and does not agree with them." Benton added: "He has, however, taken moral responsibility because they appeared under his name and slipped through under his watch. They do not reflect what he believes in: liberty and dignity for all mankind.”
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