2016 Presidential Race

Rand Paul Embarrasses Trump at Debate, Stops Commercial Break

Rand Paul, Saudi Arms Sales

Rand Paul showed up Trump, moderators, and advertisers by sticking up for Constitution

After three uneven performances in the GOP debates, Rand Paul finally showed signs of life in last night’s Fox Business GOP debate on the economy, not only providing substantive policy positions on taxation, energy production, and deficit reduction but also delivering a much-needed zinger to cut through Donald Trump’s usual bombast.

Rand Paul’s terse, understated correction of Trump on trade was possibly one of his best moments in his campaign so far.

Trump, after bemoaning the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal as “designed to lead to China to come in, as they always do, through the back door and totally take advantage of everyone,” Rand Paul spoke up just as Fox Business was looking to go to commercial break, addressing moderator Gerard Baker, “Hey Gerard, we might want to point out China’s not part of this deal.”

With music playing in the background signaling a need for a network break, Gerard Baker continued the conversation with Paul much to the chagrin of his fellow moderators, asking a follow-up question on trade.

Despite the music, Paul gave a nuanced answer on the need to restore the constitutional balance of powers on trade and other issues by being skeptical of giving more power to the Presidency.

“I think it’s a mistake that we give power to the Presidency on these trade deals,” Paul said soberly, “I think really one of the big problem we have in our country really so much power has gravitated to the executive branch. Really Congress is kind of a bystander. We don’t write the rules. We don’t make the laws. The executive branch does…I think we should be careful about giving so much power to the Presidency.”

Paul also pointed out that Trump was not only wrong on China’s involvement in the TPP, but that he did not understand the trade deal at all; correctly pointing out that China will see increased competition as a result of the deal. Paul’s best moment can easily be seen as Trump’s worst.

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