Rand Paul Continues Crusade Against Neo-Cons in Trump Administration

Rand Paul, Saudi Arms Sales

by Elias Atienza

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has been on the attack lately, appearing on talk shows and interviews discussing his opposition to Trump possibly picking former UN Ambassador John Bolton or former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani for Secretary of State.

The Nation documented his opposition to them, which Senator Paul tweeted out today.

The main reason why Paul has emerged as such a strong critic of Bolton and Giuliani is because they are “unrepentant” supporters of the Iraq War and regime change in Iran. In regards to Bolton, Paul has been much harsher on him, possibly due to the bad history between them, as Marc Thiessen wrote.

“Bolton might be better as a secretary of war, but he is certainly not a diplomat or someone who acts in a diplomatic way or thinks that diplomacy might be an alternative to war,” Paul said on CBS’s Face the Nation. 

“I’ll do whatever it takes to stop someone like John Bolton being secretary of state,” Paul told Politico last week. “He’s opposed to everything Donald Trump ran on: that the Iraq war was a mistake, regime change made us less safe in the Middle East, including in Iraq…I don’t know how a President Trump could appoint someone who’s diametrically opposed to everything Donald Trump ran on.”

Paul has not let up the criticism on Giuliani either. He told Politico:

If you look at Giuliani’s statements, you will find he has advocated bombing Iran, he has advocated for intervention, to my knowledge he’s never admitted the Iraq war was a mistake. To me, a big part of what Donald Trump said, in hundreds of speeches, was that the Iraq war was a mistake. I don’t know how you could appoint someone to be in charge of the Department of State who believes the Iraq war was a benefit.

In addition, he drew parallels between Giuliani and Clinton with his foreign ties, calling Giuliani’s ties “worrisome.”

Paul has also raised concerns about Representative Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and Trump picking him for CIA director. His concerns were on NSA spying and waterboarding, which Pompeo supports.

“But I would say that with Pompeo, he’s going to have to also answer to my liking whether or not he’s still for torture, whether or not he’s for waterboarding,” Paul said on Face the Nation. Furthermore, Rand Paul also noted that Pompeo supported the expansion of NSA spy programs.
“Many of the NSA powers were done, I think, in secret without the knowledge of most members of Congress. Even some members who were authors or co-authors of the Patriot Act said, we never intended for them to collect all that data in Utah, and they didn’t tell us,” Paul said.
Senator John McCain (R-AZ), an ardent hawk and constant opponent of Paul, also raised his own concerns about the use of torture.
“I don’t give a damn what the president of the United States wants to do or anybody else wants to do. We will not waterboard,” McCain told the Halifax International Security Forum.
Rand Paul has not opposed all of Trump’s picks. He defended Steve Bannon, the former CEO of Breitbart who has been accused of racism and anti-semitism, saying that he was not a racist.


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