Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Sunday said he respects Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), but noted the Georgia Democrat’s status as a civil rights leader doesn’t make him immune to criticism.
“I do appreciate him being a civil rights icon, but I would also say that that doesn’t make us immune from criticism or debate,” Paul said on “CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“So John Lewis isn’t in a position where there can’t be a healthy debate back and forth. Because he’s a civil rights icon shouldn’t make him immune.”
Paul said when discussions involve race, they get “very sensitive.”
“None of us actually want to be considered to be the racially insensitive and so it’s a very, very important subject, but I think we shouldn’t ignore that people are partisan,” Paul said.
“So John Lewis is a partisan. I have a great deal of respect for him, but he’s a partisan and I disagree with him on issues. I should be able to honestly disagree with him and not have it all come back to I have no appreciation for a civil rights icon because of this.”