NPR radio host John Harwood faced a testy Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Tuesday when he persistently pressed the Republican about a former staffer who has become known as “The Southern Avenger” and labeled a racist.
“He’s no longer on my staff,” Paul said of Jack Hunter. “Many of the things he wrote were stupid and I don’t agree with [it], they weren’t things I was aware of or reasons why I hired him.”
Paul went on to defend his former staffer, saying the media unfairly made him out to be a racist. He then suggested that they refocus the interview.
“Why don’t we talk about Rand Paul and what I’m trying to do to grow the party, and then we might have an intelligent discussion,” Paul said.
But Harwood continued to press Paul on the staffer that no longer works for him, reading from an article published by “The Economist.” The piece argued libertarian politicians have only found success by aligning themselves with “racist and nativist movements.”
It was at this point that Paul got more combative.
“Don’t you have something better to read than a bunch of crap from people who don’t like me? I mean, that won’t make for much of an interview if I have to sit through reading after recitation of people calling me a racist,” he scolded.
Paul encouraged Harwood to focus on the real issues like indefinite detention and aid to Egypt.
“Those might be some pertinent issues rather than doing ad hominem on me,” he added.
Listen to the audio via WBUR/Mediaite:
This story has been updated.