While most 2016 GOP hopefuls have their eyes set on the likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, two Republican governors have their eyes set on a different target: Rand Paul.
On Wednesday morning’s Fox & Friends, New Jersey governor Chris Christie took a shot at the Kentucky senator and his recent 10.5-hour filibuster against the renewal of the PATRIOT Act.
“I agree with the folks in the intelligence community who have kept us safe for the past nearly 14 years now, since 9/11. The fact is, all of the different people who are expressing opinions on this in the Senate right now, none of them have used the PATRIOT Act, none of them have prosecuted terrorists,” Christie said. “I have. And so they talk about it from a speculative perspective; I talk about it from a real-life perspective.”
He went on to tie Paul and Senator Mike Lee to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, whom he described as a criminal. “He’s a criminal and he’s hiding in Russia, and he’s lecturing to us about the evils of authoritarian government while he lives under the protective umbrella of Vladimir Putin?” the New Jersey governor asked. “That’s who Mike Lee and Rand Paul are siding with? With Edward Snowden?”
‘It has become impossible to imagine a President Paul defeating radical Islam and it’s time for the rest of us to say it.’ — Bobby Jindal
Hours after Christie’s Fox News appearance, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal released a statement blasting Senator Paul’s comments about ISIS in a Wednesday-morning interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. In the interview, Paul said, “ISIS exists and grew stronger because of the hawks in our party who gave arms indiscriminately, and most of those arms were snatched up by ISIS.”
In a press release issued Wednesday using the official state letterhead, Governor Jindal said Paul’s claim was a “perfect example” of why Paul is “unsuited to be Commander-in-Chief.”
“It’s one thing for Senator Paul to take an outlandish position as a Senator at Washington cocktail parties, but being Commander-in-Chief is an entirely different job,” Jindal wrote. “We should all be clear that evil and Radical Islam are at fault for the rise of ISIS, and people like President Obama and Hillary Clinton exacerbate it.”
“Senator Paul’s illogical argument clouds a situation that should provide pure moral clarity. Islam has a problem. ISIS is its current manifestation,” Jindal continued. “And the next President’s job is to have the discipline and strength to wipe ISIS off the face of the earth. It has become impossible to imagine a President Paul defeating radical Islam and it’s time for the rest of us to say it.”
#related#While Jindal has been known to take a more hawkish stance on foreign policy than libertarian-leaning Republicans like Paul, some have called into question the legality of his press release. According to Article 11, Section 4 of the Louisiana Constitution, “No public funds shall be used to urge any elector to vote for or against any candidate or proposition, or be appropriated to a candidate or political organization.”
This most recent spat between likely presidential candidates merely goes to show how vicious and exhausting the battle to the Republican nomination will be. Although Paul has already formally entered the 2016 race to the White House, both Christie and Jindal have yet to launch their campaigns. Jindal is waiting for the Louisiana state legislature to conclude its current session on June 11, and Christie is expected to enter the race sometime this summer.
With former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum’s campaign launch today, the Republican field currently has 7 candidates. That number is expected to climb close to 20 over the course of the next several months.
— Julia Porterfield is an intern at National Review, editor-in-chief of Red Millennial, and a junior at Regent University.