Rand Paul cites John Lewis's beating as proof Republican voter suppression laws can't be racist
Fox News/screen grab

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on Sunday suggested that new Republican voter suppression laws cannot be racist because many of the backers of Jim Crow policies were Democrats over 50 years ago.

During an interview on Fox News, host Maria Bartiromo noted that many companies had opposed voting restrictions passed by Georgia Republicans but they had not spoken out against a Democratic bill that would expand voting rights.

"I'm still having trouble fathoming the hysteria that came from Coca-Cola and Delta and Major League Baseball over the Georgia bill," Paul explained. "We passed virtually the same bill in Kentucky. It was signed by a Democrat governor and it was lauded as actually expanding access because we expanded early voting in the same way they did in Georgia."

Paul, however, did not address the increased barriers to absentee voting or the concern that lines at polling places will be longer in urban areas in Georgia due to the new law.

"To hear all these Democrats shouting Jim Crow, Jim Crow -- do they not realize the history of the Democrat [sic] Party was Jim Crow," he continued, "that not any god-fearing Republican voted for Jim Crow. That Jim Crow throughout the South was done by Democrat [sic] legislators, that the people who were beating up John Lewis and pummeling him on the bridge in Selma were all Democrats?"

"I, for one, am sick and tired of Democrats," Paul said. "They need to apologize for their history. They need to apologize for foisting Jim Crow on the country. And they need to read the bill in Georgia and realize it has nothing to do with keeping people from voting."

The Kentucky senator went on to blast corporations who opposed the Georgia law.

"Delta and Coca-Cola and Major League Baseball need to realize that about half of the country is Republicans and we're not very happy with them right now," he griped. "So if they don't want Republicans at the baseball games, if they don't want us to tune in to their baseball games on television, just keep behaving this way."

Paul added: "People like me who love baseball don't like being called a racist by Major League Baseball, don't like Delta and Coca-Cola calling us that. And we're going to object to it and going to push back. And if they continue in this direction, fine, maybe Republicans don't have to drink Coca-Cola anymore."

Watch the video below from Fox News.