Rand Paul spars with feckless Chuck Todd over the media’s perception of Trump’s racism regarding the purported “shithole” comment.
Republican Senator Rand Paul joins NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ to discuss the debate about a merit-based immigration system.
CHUCK TODD: You know, during the campaign, you lamented the fact that when you got into the race, you were doing things like speaking at Howard, trying to show – expand the tent of the Republican Party. And try to beat back this stereotype about the Republican Party. And you lamented, at the time, the language candidate Trump has used. As president when he’s gone down these roads, you’ve actually pulled back and you’ve not gone after him for specific comments. You’ve hit him on policy, but not comments. Where are you on this?
SEN. RAND PAUL: You know, I don’t think the comments were constructive at all. But I also think that to be fair, we shouldn’t draw conclusions that he didn’t intend. I know personally about his feelings towards Haiti and towards Central America because when I was not a candidate for president and he wasn’t a candidate for president, I went down there on a medical mission trip.
I did about 200 cataract surgeries with a group of surgeons in Haiti and the same in Central America. And when we asked Donald J. Trump as a private citizen to support those trips, he was a large financial backer of both medical mission trips. So I think it’s unfair to sort of draw conclusions from a remark that I think wasn’t constructive, is the least we can say.
And I think it’s unfair then to sort of all of a sudden paint him, “Oh well, he’s a racist,” when I know, for a fact, that he cares very deeply about the people in Haiti because he helped finance a trip where we were able to get vision back for 200 people in Haiti.
CHUCK TODD: I guess, though, are you more disturbed though by the comment? It’s less about the vulgarity and more that he seemed to say, “Why can’t we have immigrants from Norway as opposed from African countries?” Look, I’ll tell you this, many non-white Americans hear, “Oh, so he wants white people, not black people.”
SEN. RAND PAUL: Right. But I think people jumped a little bit to a conclusion. Let’s take the whole scenario and put different words in there and let’s say, “We’d rather have people from economically-prosperous countries than economically-deprived countries.” Or, “We realize that there are more problems in economically-deprived countries, therefore there’s a bigger impetus for them to want to come.” Then it wouldn’t have been so controversial.
There still might have been some controversy, but it wouldn’t have been so much. What I can say is, is that if you do a poll, and one of the worldwide polling companies did this, and they asked people in 50 countries, “Would you like to come to America,” it’s about 700 million would come next year. We would double our population.
So practically, we’re a great place, and practically, we do have to eliminate. And if you look at where they’d rather come from, if you live in a very, very poor, economically-distressed country, you’re more likely to want to come than if you live in England or Norway.
CHUCK TODD: That’s the story of the United States.
SEN. RAND PAUL: And so when he says that, it confuses–
CHUCK TODD: That’s the story of the United States, right?
SEN. RAND PAUL: But he confuses– say again?
CHUCK TODD: That’s the story of our country.
SEN. RAND PAUL: It is the story of our country. But what I’m saying is, you can see why there are more people wanting to come from economically-distressed areas, and they can’t all come. So it gets into the valid, legitimate debate over immigration as to how do we choose. Do we have a diversity lottery and take people from everywhere, do we base it more on merit?
So there are a lot of questions that this ultimately intersects with policy. And the only thing I regret from all of this, other than I think some people in the media have gone completely bonkers with, you know, just ad hominem on the president, but what I regret is I do want to see an immigration compromise. And you can’t have an immigration compromise if everybody’s out there calling the president a racist. They’re actually destroying the setting. And he’s a little bit of it, but both sides now are destroying the setting in which anything meaningful can happen on immigration.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
Tell us what you think in comments below!