Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) endorsed anti-government extremist Rand Paul (R-KY) in the Kentucky US Senate primary, funneling money and resources for his successful campaign. After Paul won on Tuesday night, DeMint beamed that, “Rand’s victory is part of an American awakening that is taking place across the country as people embrace the principles of freedom that are the backbone of our country.” But since Paul’s victory, more scrutiny has been placed on his far right, extremist views.
Last night on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow show, Rand Paul reiterated his position that he would have opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act and that businesses should have the right to discriminate based on race. Earlier this week, Joe Sonka reported for ThinkProgress that Paul, citing “fair[ness] to the business owner,” would also like to abolish the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Today at a press conference on Capitol Hill, ThinkProgress approached DeMint about Paul’s views, particularly his opposition to the Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. DeMint first tried to avoid the question, but eventually said he, unlike Paul, supports the Civil Rights Act, but needs to “talk to Rand about his positions”:
TP: Last night your candidate Rand Paul said that he would oppose the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
DEMINT: I haven’t seen the interview yet–
TP: Do you agree with him? [...] But do you support the 1964 Civil Rights Act, it’s a simple question. [...] Sir, you have no comment on that?
DEMINT: Yes I do. No, I support the Civil Rights Act.
TP: What about the Americans with Disabilities Act? Rand Paul says he wants to abolish that as well.
DEMINT: I’m going to talk to Rand about his positions there before I talk to you.
With the help of the Club for Growth — a right-wing attack group funded by Wall Street bankers from financial institutions like Goldman Sachs — DeMint is purging the Republican Party of candidates who do not support the pro-business lobby. In California and Colorado, DeMint-endorsed candidates are surging in the polls. But while DeMint has been celebrating his success in radically shifting the GOP, has he even examined the positions of his own tea party candidates?
Rand Paul released a statement on the Civil Rights Act: “I unequivocally state that I will not support any efforts to repeal the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”
,Dave Weigel caught an extended part of the DeMint transcript. The last line in the transcript has been updated, showing DeMint saying: “I’m going to talk to Rand about his positions there before I talk to you.” ThinkProgress did not hear DeMint’s full sentence in the clip when we originally published this post, and we regret the unintentional error.
ThinkProgress maintains that DeMint was rebuking Paul’s views. We’re happy to update our post should DeMint’s office inform us otherwise.