On MSNBC, Ex-NYTimes Writer Bob Herbert Slams GOP As 'Hostile to the Interests of African-Americans'

Appearing as a guest on the Saturday edition of Disrupt with Karen Finney on MSNBC, former NBC News man and New York Times columnist Bob Herbert asserted that Republicans are "hostile to the interests of African-Americans" and suggested that Kentucky Senator Rand Paul would not have a problem with a hotel or restaurant barring black customers from entering.

Herbert's comments came during a discussion of Senator Paul's recent criticism of GOP efforts to change voting laws. [See video below.] 

The former Times columnist began:

My first thought is: Rand Paul, African-American voters, what's wrong with this picture? It's like, give me a break. I cut him no slack at all. This guy is not even sure that if, for example, I'm on the campaign trail with the rest of the press corps, and we go to check into a hotel, he seems to believe that it would be all right if the hotel owner said, "Well, everybody else can come in, but, Bob, you can't." Or the same thing in a restaurant, you know.

He added:

So give me a break. I mean, Danielle's point is exactly right. He didn't criticize the laws themselves and explain why they're so terrible. He just said, you know, we shouldn't go crazy on this issue.

A bit later, after host Karen Finney made what she called a "devil's advocate" point suggesting the Kentucky Republican deserves credit for some of his recent stands, Herbert curtly shot back:

I've been watching the Republicans for decades, and I've said again and again and again, the GOP is hostile to the interests of African-Americans in the United States. Rand Paul is right there in the pack. I cannot cut him any slack.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Saturday, May 10, Disrupt with Karen Finney on MSNBC:

KAREN FINNEY: Paul really hones in on this, you know, they're crazy to go so, too crazy on this issue. But I notice that, you know, when he went down the street to the RNC meeting, he didn't go in and say, you know, "Brothers and sisters, we got to stop going after voter ID laws." Right?

BOB HERBERT My first thought is: Rand Paul, African-American voters, what's wrong with this picture? It's like, give me a break. I cut him no slack at all. This guy is not even sure that if, for example, I'm on the campaign trail with the rest of the press corps, and we go to check into a hotel, he seems to believe that it would be all right if the hotel owner said, "Well, everybody else can come in, but, Bob, you can't." Or the same thing in a restaurant, you know.

So give me a break. I mean, Danielle's point is exactly right. He didn't criticize the laws themselves and explain why they're so terrible. He just said, you know, we shouldn't go crazy on this issue.

FINNEY: But let me push back on that a little bit. I'll just play devil's advocate. Because it does strike me that he is at least, from a, you know, visually trying to make inroads, right? He did have this meeting. He did say what he said. He has come around when it comes to sentencing reforms, and he's talked about voting rights for felons. I mean, itt does seem like, at least in a strategic way, whether or not you believe, you know, what the intention is, in a strategic way, he is making some inroads to issues that African-Americans care about.

HERBERT: I've been watching the Republicans for decades, and I've said again and again and again, the GOP is hostile to the interests of African-Americans in the United States. Rand Paul is right there in the pack. I cannot cut him any slack.