AMES, Iowa (CNN)Sen. Rand Paul on Saturday defended a heated interview in which he shushed a female interviewer, saying he agrees to a lot of interviews and faulting the reporter for interrupting him.
Rand Paul defends shushing interview
"I think if you're forthright and answer a lot of questions, sometimes you'll get people who won't let you answer the questions and that makes for a difficult answer," the Kentucky Republican told CNN while making a stop through Ames, Iowa.
Talking to CNBC's Kelly Evans on Monday, Evans started to follow up with a question about tax repatriation for corporations overseas while Paul was still talking, and the senator started waving his arm.
"Shhh. Calm down a bit here, Kelly. Let me answer the question," he said.
Laughing, Evans apologized and instructed Paul to "go ahead." But the interview had other tense moments when Evans challenged Paul on a range of issues, from his thoughts on vaccinations to an ophthalmology board that he created that has been the subject of questions in the past.
In the interview, Paul scolded Evans for being "argumentative" and chastised her for "mischaracterizing" his positions.
The exchange quickly became news, as critics questioned whether Paul would have treated a male anchor the same way. That combined with his accusations against the media for distorting his comments about vaccinations — served as fodder for pundits and critics to question whether Paul was ready for prime time or too thin-skinned.
Asked to address that criticism Saturday, Paul pointed to the prolific amount of interviews he's given and said he would continue talking to reporters.
"I give thousands of interviews and I'm probably about as open as anybody in Washington as far as access goes, so I'll continue to do that," he said. "We'll see how it goes. I'm a pretty open person and we'll continue to try to get the ideas out and give interviews."
The senator was in Iowa on Friday and Saturday to attend an "Audit the Fed" rally and to meet with students at the Iowa State University. He also spoke at a restaurant in Marshalltown, a restaurant located about an hour northeast of Des Moines, where he held an event with Rep. Rod Blum.