Rand Paul Sees ‘Fellow Soulmate’ in Trump on Foreign Policy
Senator says he still has doubts about Pompeo but is convinced the nominee won't undermine president as secretary of state
Sen. Rand Paul’s flipflop on Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo came down to President Donald Trump, whom he called a “soulmate” on foreign policy.
Paul (R-Ky.) decided to support Pompeo after talking to him and the president. His support allowed Pompeo to pass through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with a favorable recommendation, and ensures he will win confirmation in the full Senate.
Paul said Tuesday on “The Laura Ingraham Show” that he also was impressed by the secret meeting Pompeo had with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in advance of a summit that could lead to a diplomatic breakthrough.
“The more I talked to him, the more he made me believe that, yes, he does share the president’s vision,” he said.
That does not mean Paul has abandoned criticism of Pompeo’s hawkish record on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Do I still have some doubts? Yeah,” he said. “But I do think that in my conversations with, particularly with, the president over the last several days, it’s like talking to somebody else who really is concerned about the foreign policy mistakes … all of these disasters where we’ve gotten chaos when we’ve attempted regime change. I think the president is like talking to a fellow soulmate on these things.”
Paul ripped the naiveté of “neocons” like Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who urges a larger role for the United States in war-torn Syria.
“You know, he’s never met a war he doesn’t want to be involved in,” he said. “And if he had his way, we’d have troops everywhere around the world.”
Paul rejected critics’ characterization of him as someone who makes a lot of noise but ultimately falls in line behind Trump. That misses the point, the senator said.
“My hesitancy on Pompeo, I think, is an honest one,” he said. “I have honestly worried that he’s more for regime change and hasn’t really fully appreciated that the Iraq war was the biggest mistake of the last couple decades.”
With Trump’s re-election campaign already up and running, some Republican elected officials have hedged when asked whether they will support him.
“I’ve already said that I’ll support him again if he decides to run for president again.”
An election more than two years away is too distant to focus on, they say.
Paul offers no caveats.
“I’ve already said that I’ll support him again if he decides to run for president again,” he said. “And I think that we haven’t had a president who shares at least some of the ideas that war has gone on too long and in too many places in a long time. We haven’t had a Republican president brave enough to criticize the Bushes and say the Bushes made mistakes to get us too involved in so many wars, and the Iraq war in particular.”