Politics

Rand Paul: Bolton ‘Unrepentant’ on Iraq War, Regime Change

Former GOP rival pans Trump consideration of former U.N. ambassador foreign policy role

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul called former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton a “basically unrepentant” person who would be “diametrically opposed” to President-Elect Donald Trump’s key positions on foreign policy during a Tuesday interview on “The Laura Ingraham Show.”

Paul, a former GOP primary rival to Trump, took particular umbrage with Bolton’s views regarding nation-building and approach to the Middle East. Bolton, whose name is in the running to be Trump’s deputy secretary of state alongside secretary of state nominee-designate Rex Tillerson, does not support Trump’s aversion to foreign nation-building, Paul insisted.

“Scott Pruitt at EPA is better than any of the Bush appointees by both presidents and probably better than any of Reagan’s appointments.”

“So I think Donald Trump has really said this over and over, so I think it’s deeply held. That’s just why I hope he doesn’t have somebody running the State Department who is diametrically opposed to everything that he stated that he is for,” Paul told LifeZette Editor-in-Chief Laura Ingraham. “I don’t know about Tillerson, but I would call John Bolton basically unrepentant about the Iraq War and about regime change. And so I just hope [Trump] does better than that.”

Noting that the U.S. cannot focus on “advocating for regime change” in the Middle East, Paul said that special consideration must be given regarding the worldview held by the president-elect’s nominees.

“You know, if we want to rebuild our nation here, if we want to rebuild the infrastructure of America, we can’t be rebuilding the infrastructure of Afghanistan and Pakistan and all these far-blown places,” Paul said.

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Though Paul panned Bolton’s consideration, he did express enthusiasm for the president-elect’s other picks for top posts — especially with Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, Trump’s choice to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Scott Pruitt at EPA is better than any of the Bush appointees by both presidents and probably better than any of Reagan’s appointments. I really believe that,” Paul said. “He realizes that the pendulum of regulations has swung so hard against American jobs that I think he will — with Donald Trump’s blessing — I think really start to repeal the regulatory war on American jobs.”

Paul predicts that with Pruitt as the head of the EPA, the country will begin to see the rejuvenation and retention of American jobs “within months.”

“I really appreciate Trump having the courage to appoint somebody who’s going to undo the regulatory war on our jobs,” Paul said before noting that Kentucky alone has lost nearly 20,000 jobs in the coal industry because of the “war on coal.”

“I want to see those people getting their jobs back, and I think that if we can stop the regulatory war, there is a chance that the coal industry can turn around and we can start getting some of those jobs back,” Paul said.

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According to Paul, 70 percent of eastern Kentucky voted for Trump because they were losing their jobs. Saying that Kentuckians had the “correct” impression that President Obama and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton didn’t care about them, Paul credited Trump’s campaign promises to rebuild the American workforce as the key to winning their votes.

“And really, this was widespread. It wasn’t just in coal country. It was all across the Midwest where people have been losing jobs decade after decade,” Paul said. “The Democrats, I think, have been shown to be left-leaning elitists from both coasts who don’t really care about Midwesterners and their jobs. And those people came out and said, ‘You know? We want someone who actually cares about American jobs.'”

With Republicans set to take the presidency, the House, and the Senate by storm in January, Paul anticipates great things for Americans if Trump will hold fast to his campaign promises.

“And I do think that there are a couple things Donald Trump has always been consistent on — I think that you can tell that he truly believes. One is border security and two is the whole idea that regime change in the Middle East has not made us safer. He says them in every speech,” Paul said. “And I think he will … enforce border security. Some of enforcement is showing from the get-go that you have zero tolerance. Because once you have a zero tolerance [policy] for people coming in illegally, it’ll stop. But we’ve never had that. We’ve never had a Republican president or a Democrat president who actually believes in zero tolerance.”

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