'Do You Think the American People Are Stupid?': Rand Paul Cuts to the Heart of the Disinformation Issue With Mayorkas

Greg Nash/Pool via AP

If anyone is going to push back the hardest against this “Disinformation Governance Board” the Democrats cooked up, it’s going to be Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, a man who has never taken very kindly to big government getting any bigger. To be sure, he let Biden’s Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas have both barrels over it and, as he does, backed the secretary into a corner in a very heated exchange.


Paul’s first question immediately put Mayorkas on the backfoot, asking the Secretary if he thought the Steele dossier contained Russian misinformation. Mayorkas attempted to avoid responding by saying he’s not equipped to answer that question, which is odd given his position, but Paul didn’t let him get away with it.

“You say this “Disinformation Governance Board” is going to help the public with disinformation. You claim it’s not going to be about domestic, it’s about foreigners and those evil Russians. So, here’s my question,” said Paul. “The FBI concludes that the Steele dossier was full of Russian misinformation, CNN propagated this disinformation gladly for years and years.”

“The difference, I guess, between your opinion and our opinion is that as despicable as it is that CNN propagated this disinformation, I wouldn’t shut them down, I wouldn’t lecture them, I wouldn’t put it on a government website that CNN is wrong for propagating misinformation.”

Paul noted that the government and its experts can’t even agree as to what qualifies as misinformation.

“How do you propose that you’re going to have an office of disinformation governance if you see the problem in determining what is disinformation?” asked Paul.


Mayorkas attempted to tell Paul that his department only comes into play when the misinformation ties to a foreign threat, but Paul wasn’t having it. After pointing out even the FBI found it was wrong on what constituted misinformation, he asked Mayorkas what he would do if CNN was disseminating Russian misinformation. Mayorkas once again said that the department only gets involved with the disinformation that poses a threat to the country, which was still no answer to Paul’s question.

Mayorkas attempted to assure Paul that there would be clearly defined “guidelines” and “guardrails” to keep the American people’s rights intact but, again, Paul made it clear that it can’t happen if the government can’t even decide what misinformation is. He even revealed that the largest disseminator of misinformation was the U.S. government itself, giving various examples over time.

Paul drove his point home.

“Think of all the debates and disputes we’ve had over the last 50 years in our country,” said Paul. “We worked them out by debating them. We don’t work them out by having the government being the arbiter. I don’t want government guardrails. I want you to have nothing to do with speech.”


“You think we can’t determine…speech by traffickers is disinformation?” asked Paul. “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.”

It’s at this point that Mayorkas clearly looked angry and frustrated.

The back and forth continued with Mayorkas attempting to put up an example as to why the American people would need the government to tell them what the truth is (fentanyl in vaccines) but Paul made it clear that the American people are smart enough to figure that out themselves and that this board isn’t needed.

Paul’s point is a very good one. The creation of the board is effectively the Democrats saying they believe Americans are too dumb to figure out things on our own. It should also be pointed out that Mayorkas did not clarify how this department would take action against misinformation. Moreover, these “guidelines and guardrails” were not defined either.


No matter how you swing it, this is an intrusion on free speech whether it’s directed at controlling the press or the people. Shutting down someone spreading “misinformation” no matter who it is, is an attack on the 1st Amendment. This especially gets worrisome when the government can’t define what misinformation actually is, and is even guilty of spreading it itself, as Paul pointed out.

This “Disinformation Governance Board” isn’t just useless, it’s dangerous.


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