In a Sunday interview, Senator Rand Paul challenged the mainstream media narrative which treats recent remarks by President Donald Trump as “proof” that he is racist.
Paul (R-Ky.) described how Trump, as a private citizen, was a major financial backer for medical missions to Haiti. The Kentucky senator also criticized the media for drawing conclusions that the president did not intend.
“I know personally about his feelings towards Haiti and toward 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,” Paul said.
“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,” he continued.
Mainstream media outlets jumped on remarks Trump allegedly made about third-world countries in a closed-door meeting with six senators on Jan. 11. The Washington Post was the first to report on the alleged remarks citing anonymous sources who were briefed on the meeting.
Two Republican senators present at the meeting affirmed that Trump did not use the expletive widely reported by the media. Meanwhile, one of the Democrat senators said that Trump did use the reported language. Trump tweeted to say that the language he used “was tough, but this was not the language used.”
Paul added that the president is being treated unfairly.
“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 it’s unfair to all of a sudden paint him as ‘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,” Paul said.
The alleged remarks were during a closed-door bipartisan meeting on immigration policy where the six senators pitched a deal to save a discontinued program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Trump had blasted the proposal made as “outlandish.”
“The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used,” Trump wrote on Twitter on Jan. 12. “What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made – a big setback for DACA!”
The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used. What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made – a big setback for DACA!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018
The president has said that any deal to save DACA would need to include funding for the southern border wall, an end to chain migration, and the replacement of the current lottery green card program with a merit-based system.
“I don’t believe the Democrats really want to see a deal on DACA. They are all talk and no action,” Trump wrote on Twitter on Jan. 13. “This is the time but, day by day, they are blowing the one great opportunity they have. Too bad!”
Rand Paul was one of 11 candidates who were up against Trump during the 2016 Republican presidential primary. Paul withdrew from the race on Feb. 3, 2016, and endorsed Trump.