Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul recently blasted the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas during a hearing, saying he doesn’t want the secretary anywhere near making decisions involving speech.
Paul told the DHS secretary, “We can’t even agree what disinformation is.”
“What this working group does is ensure that there are guardrails, definitions, standards to make sure that free speech rights, civil rights, civil liberties, and privacy rights of individuals are not impeded,” explained Mayorkas, speaking of the new DHS Disinformation Governance Board.
Paul responded to Mayorkas’ explanation with ire. “I don’t want guardrails. I want you to have nothing to do with speech. You think we can’t determine, you know, speech by traffickers is disinformation.”
He continued, “Do you think the American people are so stupid they need you to tell them what the truth is? You can’t even admit what the truth is with the Steele Dossier. I don’t trust the government to figure out what the truth is. Government is largely disseminating disinformation.”
Senator Paul then accused the United States government of being the “largest propagator of disinformation in the history of the world.”
Paul continued, telling Mayorkas, “I think you’ve got no idea what disinformation is.”
The senator continued listing reasons he doesn’t trust Secretary Mayorkas to make determinations about speech or misinformation online. Paul pointed out the information stifling of Covid-19 online that did not line up with the Biden administration’s Covid-19 policies.
Senator Paul continued to confront Secretary Mayorkas on the administration’s control over Covid-19 information.
“I’ve said a million times that cloth masks don’t work. YouTube takes me down. They’re a private company. I can have that beef with him. What about you? You’re going to look at that?
“I often say that natural immunity from having had the infection is equal to the vaccine or better. You’re going to take that down? Are you going to put information out there saying that I’m spreading disinformation?” Senator Paul asked.
DHS Secretary Mayorkas wouldn’t give Paul a straight answer, claiming the board isn’t composed of “public health experts.”
Senator Paul pushed back against Mayorkas’ remarks saying, “So public health won’t be part of the Disinformation Governance Board? No Covid disinformation? Yes or no?”
Mayorkas then accused Senator Paul of raising vague hypotheticals and said the DHS would aim to address information that may pose a national security threat to the United States.
Paul disagreed with Mayorkas, saying that Americans don’t need the U.S. government to tell them what to believe or not. “I have a greater respect for the American people than you do. I think the American people can figure out the truth,” pressed Paul.
He added, “And if you think the American people need to be told there’s no fentanyl in the vaccination, feel free to say it. But the thing is, is if you are going to go around saying that you’re the arbiter of information and of disinformation, I think you have no clue.”
President Biden’s newest “disinformation czar,” Nina Jankowicz was hired in April to lead a Homeland Security Department working group designed to help different agencies dealing with misinformation on topics ranging from plots of Iran and Russia to migration.
Her appointment has angered many Republicans as Jankowicz has dismissed concerns about critical race theory being taught in schools, labeling it “disinformation for-profit” — despite vocal opposition from parents across the U.S. worried about teaching the philosophy in the classrooms of their children.