Sen. Rand Paul criticized Donald Trump’s outsized personality and questioned his limited-government views on Monday, but he refused to rule out the possibility of working for a hypothetical Trump administration.
Paul, during an appearance on “The Laura Ingraham Show,” assailed what he said was Trump’s “bombastic” personality, his lack of a consistent foreign policy approach and his strategy for dealing with the Middle East. And he expressed concern that since Trump’s thinking is not rooted in small government philosophy, he may allow autocratic or power-grabbing tendencies to creep into his administration.
“I have a career and philosophy of limited government that I can trace back to those who wrote the Magna Carta, those who wrote the Declaration of Independence,” the Kentucky Republican senator said. “Trump is more of just a narcissist that is loud and bombastic.”
But when asked if he would consider taking a position with a potential Trump administration, he responded, “We’ll cross all bridges when we get to them.”
Paul emphasized that he is still confident he will ultimately be the GOP’s 2016 presidential nominee and that his struggles in the polls are not indicative of his broader appeal among voters.
The senator and Republican presidential candidate also blasted the news media for allowing themselves to be dominated by Trump fever over the past six months as the real estate mogul has risen meteorically from comic book candidate to Republican front-runner.
“I turn on one of the news channels, he’s on for 45 minutes straight,” Paul said. “We have a really lazy news apparatus, in the sense that it covers the same thing over and over again, and they can’t get enough of Trump.”
But Paul, like many of Trump’s other opponents across the political spectrum, appeared to misinterpret the reason for the tycoon’s meteoric rise to the top of the Republican presidential pack.
While acknowledging Trump’s standing as the far and away front-runner, Paul attributed his success — and the fact that he attracted 13,000 people to a recent rally in Biloxi, Mississippi — to “curiosity” and media hype rather than his appeal to the angst of the American public over the conduct of the government and state of the country.
Paul also expressed concern that, because of it own doing, the Republican-led Congress would have no meaningful recourse to oppose President Obama’s impending executive action to expand background checks on gun purchases.
Paul pointed out that by working with Democrats in December to pass a $1.1-trillion government spending bill that funds the government through 2016, Republicans ceded any opportunity to withhold funding from the president’s executive actions and other controversial maneuvers before the November elections.
“While we control the House and we control the Senate, we have zero power because we’ve abdicated the power of the purse,” he said. “We’ve allowed the president now to do whatever he wants.”
Authorizing government spending for a full year rather than shorter one or two month increments removed the option of shutting down the government from the negotiating table for the remainder of the Obama presidency.
“If you pre-emptively surrender that leverage, then President Obama gets everything he wants, and that’s whats happening now,” Paul added. “It’s our own damn fault that we’ve let this happen.”