Oh suh-nap! Senator Rand Paul hit back hard at Senators McCain and Graham Monday after they criticized his foreign policy chops, calling them “lapdogs” for the president’s foreign policy agenda.
In an interview on Fox News, Bill Hemmer quoted the two highly critical comments made by the Republican senators, asking the Kentucky senator for his response.
Graham had said that, “generally speaking,” Paul has done “more wrong than right,” and McCain had said that he “does not understand” and has “displayed his naivete since he came to the Senate.”
Senator Paul replied, “This comes from a group of people who have been wrong about every foreign policy issue over the last two decades.”
“If there’s anyone who is the most opposed to President Obama’s foreign policy, it’s me,” Rand continued. “And these people who call loudest to criticize me are great proponents of President Obama’s foreign policy. They just want to do it 10 times over. But I’m the only one actually standing up and saying, ‘The war in Libya was a mistake. The bombing of Assad would make ISIS stronger. The arms to the Islamic rebels would make ISIS stronger.’”
“I’m really the one standing up to President Obama. And these people are essentially the lapdogs for President Obama and I think they’re sensitive about that,” Paul said.
Hemmer asked Paul if he considers himself to be an interventionist or an isolationist — a question, he noted, the Kentucky senator should expect to get repeatedly throughout the campaign. Paul answered that he considered himself to be a “Reagan Republican.”
“I believe in a strong national defense and I believe in peace through strength,” Paul stated. But he added that “intervention is not always the answer,” citing the example of “Hillary’s war in Libya,” which he rightly noted has made Libya less stable, more chaotic, and has allowed the rise of radical Islam. He argued that “we are less safe as a result of that war. It was a mistake for it to occur.”
“Realize that these people who criticize me were for giving arms to [Mommar] Gadhafi last year or the year before, they were for toppling Gadhafi. So they’re on both sides of so many wars. Some of these critics are for bombing both sides of the Syrian war. Their foreign policy is so disjointed, confusing and chaotic that really people need to re-examine those who want to be involved in every war,” Paul said.
“I say we get involved when there’s American interest. I think we do have to militarily stop ISIS,” he added. “But I am sad that ISIS got a lot of the weapons from interventionists in my party and the president who gave them the weapons indirectly.”
Rand concluded that he was willing to play nice if his Republican critics play nice, “but if they’re going to trot around the country criticizing me, I’m going to make sure the American public knows that they are precisely the people who support the president’s foreign aid, Libyan war, and the Syrian war — and they need to explain themselves.”
The pertinent portion of the clip begins at 3:42 minutes in. In the first few minutes, Rand was asked to respond to the latest revelations about the Clinton Foundation — which he found to be “alarming.”
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