Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) criticized the Black Lives Matter movement on Wednesday, accusing it of “bullying people.”
“I think they should change their name maybe, if they were ‘All Lives Matter’ or ‘Innocent Lives Matter,'” Paul told Fox News host Sean Hannity. “I am about justice, and frankly I think a lot of poor people in our country, and many African-Americans, are trapped in this war on drugs and I want to change it. But commandeering the microphone and bullying people and pushing people out of the way I think really isn’t a way to get their message across.”
Members of the movement have often pointed out that using the phrase “all lives matter” is a means for opponents to downplay the number of black deaths as a result of excessive force by law enforcement officials. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley was booed when he used the phrase “every life matters” during the Netroots Nation progressive conference earlier this month. He later apologized for doing so.
The protest at Netroots touched off a series of appearances by activists connected to the movement at events featuring O’Malley and fellow Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, as well as GOP candidate and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Protesters also met with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after reportedly being blocked from attending one of her events.
Both Paul and Hannity also talked up the Tea Party senator’s outreach efforts to black communities.
“I’ve appeared with many members of the Congressional Black Caucus to talk about criminal justice,” the senator said. “I’ve been to Howard University, I’ve discussed it in Chicago and other cities, and so I’m more than willing to discuss it. But having people take the microphone — they need to go somewhere else and they need to rent their own microphone.”
Paul did not mention that he tried to argue to a Howard student that bringing up Republican voter suppression efforts in the present day was demeaning to the civil rights movement.
Watch the interview, as aired on Wednesday, below.