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Rand Paul and John McCain Battle Over Syria Strikes
By Austin Petersen
Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and John McCain (R-AZ) came to metaphorical blows over President Donald Trump’s attacks in Syria last week.
Paul asserted that the president needed constitutional authority to attack the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after he allegedly used chemical weapons against his own people. In fact, former President Barack Obama even sought congressional authorization in 2013 but was denied by congressional Republicans at the time, who claimed he needed authorization to attack al-Assad.
Even right wing radio and TV hosts agreed, arguing that the president must follow the Constitution if he wished to expand the war in Syria from attacking ISIS to the Syrian government.
But now many of the neoconservatives who had opposed Obama’s use of force in 2013 were now cheering President Trump’s airstrikes. Many of them claimed that the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force was all that was needed for Trump to attack Syria, but Paul disagreed.
“I don’t really react to Senator Paul,” McCain said disdainfully, “we’re just too different, and he doesn’t really have any real influence in the United States Senate.”
Blitzer reminded him that many other Senators agreed with Paul, and McCain said he would talk to them but not address Paul’s statement.
“So you don’t even want to respond to that,” Blitzer tried to ask again.
“Pardon me, I don’t pay any attention frankly, to what Senator Paul says,” McCain reiterated his disdain.
“But tell me why you disagree with him so much,” Blitzer asked.
“Because he’s wrong,” McCain replied.
“Just on this issue or a whole bunch of other issues?” Blitzer responded.
“Every other issue that I know of, that has to do with national security,” McCain answered.