Rand Paul Rubber Stamps Obama Cabinet Picks, Tries to Thwart Trump

Gage Skidmore, Flickr/Creative Commons http://bit.ly/2f1LiqE

A libertarian-leaning Senator from Kentucky has vowed to block President Donald J. Trump’s respective nominees for Secretary of State and CIA Director.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), sounded off on Twitter this morning about Trump’s nominations for the newly vacant positions:

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Trump has nominated Mike Pompeo, former CIA Director, for Secretary of State. He has also nominated Gina Haspel to replace Pompeo at the CIA.

“I can’t support people who never understood America First,” Paul said.

Paul vowed to oppose the nominations, saying that they embody the foreign policy mistakes of previous administrations.

But his lack of support for Trump’s nominees highlights the boneheaded waste of political capital that embodies the libertarian movement.

In 2013, Paul told Politico that he “takes seriously the president’s prerogative to choose his political appointees.”

Immediately thereafter, Paul voted to confirm Obama appointee Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense. Hagel, not exactly the “America First” type, supported hawkish and aggressive military intervention policies, including public threats to international media outlets that the United States was ready to go to war with Syria.

Hagel’s not-so-conservative record also includes pushing the National Guard to provide benefits for same-sex domestic partnerships.

Paul has succeeded in aggravating the America First crowd, whom he claims to support:

Anonymous user Stonewall Jackson, who has is a huge pro-Trump influencer on Twitter called for Paul’s ouster from the Senate.

“Going against Trump only serves to injure the party,” he said. “Rand Paul must go. Enough is enough.”

Mike Zollo, another large pro-Trump influencer, seems to have lost confidence in Paul’s allegiance to Trump, noting that he, too, is “pissed off” at Paul.

Paul’s latest blunder comes in the wake of his criticism of President Trump’s response to the Parkland, Florida school shooting.

“I’m a firm believer that due process means that you get a lawyer, a trial, a hearing, an impartial court making a decision before any of your rights are taken away,” Paul said after Trump brashly remarked that he would prefer to “take the gun first, and go through due process second.”

If Paul were truly a Trump ally, he might have noticed a trend from the past year: sometimes Trump says unsavory things, but when it comes to implementing policy, he usually makes the right call.

With only 14 months under his belt, Trump has proven himself to be the most conservative president in 40 years. Instead of bashing him in moments of political expedience, perhaps it would serve Paul better to stick with the program.

 

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