On Thursday’s “NOW w/Alex Wagner” on MSNBC, an appearance by former Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul ended in a fiery argument centered around the Third Secret of Fatima.
Paul, father of Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, made the appearance to promote his new Ron Paul Channel. The wide-ranging interview lasted nearly 13 minutes and involved some current news, including possible U.S. military strikes on Syria and the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance program.
However, the interview took a contentious turn when host Alex Wagner questioned Paul about his decision to speak at a purportedly “anti-Semitic” event hosted by a Canadian Catholic group inspired by the 1917 Marian apparitions in Fatima, Portugal.
The Fort Erie, Ontario-based Fatima Center is a controversial apostolate committed to the consecration of Russia to the immaculate heart of the Virgin Mary, who communicated an apocalyptic and strongly anti-communist message to three young Portuguese children nearly a century ago. The Fatima Center’s leadership posits a continuing post-Soviet threat, a Masonic conspiracy within the Vatican and assorted United Nations plots against Christianity, but the group earlier this week posted a two-page rebuttal [pdf] of claims that its upcoming conference is related to “Zionism, the nation of Israel, the Jewish people, Hitler’s genocidal policies, or any alleged anti-Semitism.”
Partial transcript as follows:
WAGNER: Dr. Paul you talk a lot about liberty, and broad coalitions. And I think one of the, you know, one of the most hopeful signs for the GOP is the broad coalition that you were able to put together in the last presidential race, young people, old people, middle aged people, which is really an outlier within the current state of the Republican Party. But with your emphasis on liberty I have to ask you about some of the folks that are in your coalition. And this weekend you’re going to be giving an address at the Fatima center in Canada, which has been called a hardcore anti-Semite group. Is this something that you would reconsider doing?
PAUL: No, as a Catholic —
WAGNER: Even — go ahead.
PAUL: I even talk to Republicans and they disagree with everything I say. You know, when I’m on a Republican stage and I say we should have a foreign policy of a golden rule they boo me. I’m trying to convert people. But I’m going to a conservative, Catholic group that is pro-peace, and wants to hear my foreign policy and my take on economy. If I go only — I wouldn’t be on this station if I had to have a litmus test. I mean, you have —
WAGNER: This station —
PAUL: — why can’t I go there?
PAUL: Now you’re categorizing —
WAGNER: — and opposing Jewish nationalism and preaching about Satan’s plans against the church among which include the granting of full citizenship to the Jews. Is your appearance at an event like this not some kind of endorsement of —
PAUL: OK, what I would say is yes there are disagreements within the Catholic Church and they’re debating, it’s theological. I have nothing to do with that. I’m not even going to pretend I know anything about that. Sounds to me like you have me on here to bash Catholics.
WAGNER: I was raised Catholic so that’s the last thing I want to do.
PAUL: Well, you ought to be more courteous to them and give them a break. Why can’t we have discussions with people that might have a difference? And I put up with a lot of this in the last 40 years, because not too many people agree. But why I’m excited, is the country is coming toward the way of peace, and this coalition of libertarians and progressives, we’ve had too much war, too much spending, too much Federal Reserve spending of money and that’s what’s important. And for you to bring this stuff up about the infractions of some group that I have no idea what their theology is all about. I don’t even have any idea why you do things like that.
WAGNER: Well, because, Dr. Paul, this —
PAUL: It just astounds me.
WAGNER: There have been a lot of folks that have been involved with your campaign, supporters, there have been newsletters that have been accredited to you that have strong anti-Semitic racist undertones and I think the American public is curious about how you endorse or do not endorse or deny involvement with any of that. And that, that’s why it’s a relevant line of questioning. At the same time —
PAUL: So I’ve had that — you know the first month after I was elected in 1976 I had a picture in a magazine. I was practicing physician for all those years, and I run for office. I had no expectation of winning. I win, I’m totally innocent. The first month they put my picture in a magazine with a swastika. So this is just horrible. It just goes on. When people disagree with you on ideas they have to destroy your character. That’s what they do. The main reason I get attacked from every — anybody like you, it’s because there’s disagreement on my foreign policy. I want peace and I don’t want to support the warmongers. So you have to go after some of these characters.
WAGNER: I don’t think that that constitutes a character attack, Dr. Paul, but we really do appreciate you coming on the show and talking about the ideas that are dear to you, and your hope for the country. Thanks for your time.
PAUL: You had your chance. I hope I had my chance for my answers.
WAGNER: Thank you very much, Dr. Ron Paul, host of the Ron Paul Channel. Thanks for your time.