Rand Paul Tries to Address His Alex Jones Problem
Paul’s careful presentation at rallies has contrasted with his media interviews, and with the attack ads from a hawkish 501(c)(4) that dig into interviews Paul gave years ago to the conspiracy-curious radio host Alex Jones. It was to Jones that Paul had said Iran posed “no threat” to America, for example. In an interview with Bloomberg News, asked whether he regretted talking to Jones, Paul demurred.
“I’ve been pretty open to doing a lot of interviews with a lot of different people,” he said. “And people want to characterize one or two of them, whether they’re on the right or left, you know, they’re welcome to do it. But I’ve been pretty open to doing interviews and it’s one way to get the information out.”
Asked if he listened to Jones’s show, Paul said that he simply didn’t listen to much news. “When I’m brushing my teeth in the morning I turn on the news channel,” he said, “but I’m busy all day.”
Paul’s irritation with the mainstream media followed him all week, especially after he chastised Today Show co-host Savannah Guthrie for asking him to answer a series of contradictions between the Alex Jones-era answers (2007 to 2009) and 2015. In subsequent talks with the New York Times, CNN, and Fox News, Paul found himself going meta about the problems with spot interviews.
“I think that interviews are difficult,” Paul told Fox’s Megyn Kelly. “Like right now while we’re doing this interview I can’t see you. You know, I’m in a remote—by a remote camera in South Carolina. When an interview’s contentious and when an interview is full of a lot of opinion and editorializing and it’s a long-winded question that’s setting you up to say, well, you know, you’ve been beating your wife all these years and when are you going to stop beating your wife? It’s very difficult in those contentious interviews. I don’t think it makes for good TV on both sides. And I do lose my cool. And I lost—I do lose my temper sometimes. And I should be better at that, but the thing is you don’t get any visual clues.”
But it really isn’t just Alex Jones. Paul has his own tin foil hat past, such as his concern about the “NAFTA Superhighway” and the “Amero:”
If you talk about it like it’s a conspiracy, they’ll paint you as a nut.