Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Tuesday on “The Laura Ingraham Show” that some members of the Republican Party have lost their way, as Sen. Jeff Flake said on Sunday, but that it has nothing to do with the “populism,” “xenophobia” or “protectionism” — and nothing to do with Donald Trump.
Paul said the party has “lost its way” because it embraced “establishment” principles.
“If you’re going to say, ‘Oh, the days were so much better when we had George Bush versus President Trump,’ I’m not so sure I agree,” he continued. “I think the Cabinet that Trump has put in place is more conservative than even Reagan’s Cabinet. I think that Trump appointing Gorsuch to the Supreme Court is better than we could have ever hoped from either Bush.”
“We have given in to nativism and protectionism,” Flake said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “And I think that, if we’re going to be a governing party in the future, and a majority party, we have got to go back to traditional conservatism, limited government, economic freedom, individual responsibility, respect for free trade. Those are the principles that made us who we are.”
In response, Paul pointed to GOP senators’ repeated betrayal of the Republican Party’s campaign promises to repeal and replace Obamacare, as well as the GOP establishment’s opposition to President Donald Trump’s sweeping tax reform proposal.
“I think there are differing opinions on whether we’ve lost our way,” he said. “I think some in our party have, who are less conservative. We promised to repeal Obamacare and then people voted against repealing. So I think there’s objective evidence to that.”
Paul went on to say that Trump’s appointments have “exceeded” his expectations.
“As far as the party losing the way, yeah — there a quite a few people who used to be for repealing Obamacare and then voted otherwise. And yeah — that concerns me.”
Paul noted that the GOP has failed repeatedly to live up to its campaign promises after the American people used the 2016 elections to vote Republicans into the White House and into majorities in both the House and the Senate, and that the GOP has shamelessly squandered the chance the voters gave them.
“My perspective is we need to be true to our conservative principles, and that that’s the real danger,” he said. “I spoke to the Young Americans for Freedom last night. We had about 500 kids. And I started out and I asked them, I said, ‘Some people are saying if you like Obamacare you can keep it. These are Republicans saying this. How many of you want to keep Obamacare?’ And of course, there’s not one hand in the whole audience.”
“And yet, some of their politicians up here are saying things like that. Republicans. ‘If you like Obamacare, you can keep it,'” Paul continued. “And then there are some who are saying they’re no longer for repeal. So yes — there is a problem, a problem of people not being true to what they said. People ran entire campaigns saying they would repeal Obamacare, and then came up here and didn’t vote to repeal.”
When Ingraham asked him if he believed Trump and the GOP leadership members could push the president’s tax reform proposal successfully through Congress, the Kentucky senator expressed his doubts that establishment Republicans would fall in line.
“This is once again where you’ve got conservative versus establishment. The president has put forward a tax cut — $2 trillion tax cut — that would rival Ronald Reagan’s first tax cut. And I think we would unleash enormous growth in our country,” Paul said. “It comes to the Hill, and the establishment on both sides says, ‘Oh no. We want a tax-shifting bill where we shift the taxes from, you know, one side to the other, but really there’s no tax cut.'”
“It’s a revenue-neutral bill. And if I tell people that’s what we’re for, I might just go home because that’s not what we ran on,” he concluded. “We ran on cutting taxes, making government smaller. And if government’s going to remain the same size and take the same bite out of everybody’s check, I just don’t know if that’s worth it.”
(photo credit, homepage and article images: Gage Skidmore, Flickr)