White House

Rand Paul Backs Trump After Helsinki, Says GOP Critics Motivated by ‘Dislike of the President’

General Washington in America: Imagine a World Without Her

Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) broke with his fellow Congressional Republicans late Monday, praising President Trump for attempting to improve relations with Russia and rebuking his critics for allowing their personal animus towards him to color their interpretation of world events.

After his joint press conference with Vladimir Putin Monday, Trump was pilloried almost universally by the press and lawmakers of both parties for appearing to place Putin’s denial of election meddling on equal footing with the U.S. intelligence consensus of Russian culpability.

Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) called Trump’s refusal to forcefully confront Putin “a tragic mistake,” while fellow Arizona Republican Jeff Flake said it was “shameful.” The consummate Trump critics were joined by many of their typically more deferential colleagues, including speaker Paul Ryan, in criticizing Trump’s performance.

Paul, whose isolationist streak tends to distance him from many of his Republican colleagues on foreign policy questions, cast his colleagues’ criticisms as senseless warmongering or personally motivated.

“It’s gotten so ridiculous that someone has to stand up and say we should try to engage even our adversaries and open up our lines of communication,” Paul told Politico. “We’re going to talk to the president about some small steps in order to try to thaw the relations between our countries.”

Paul and a handful of fellow Republicans, many of whom travelled to Russia earlier this month to meet with Kremlin officials, are eager to warm relations with Russia; but the vast majority of their conference believe recent acts of aggression necessitate a firm response.

The Kentucky libertarian dismissed their criticisms as entirely political and shortsighted.

“Republicans that are making the criticism are either the pro-war Republicans like McCain and Graham or the anti-Trump ones like Sasse,” Paul said. “They are motivated by their persistent and consistent dislike of the president.”

Paul, who voted against the last round of sanctions implemented against Russia, has continued to criticize what he views as Republicans’ over reliance on deterrence in foreign policy.

“We have a lot of areas … we should be talking about,” Paul said of Russia. “We won’t get anywhere on it if we just say we want … to put more sanctions on them and tomorrow they’ll surrender and do what we want.”

Jack Crowe — Jack Crowe is a news writer at National Review Online.

Most Popular

PC Culture

Warren Is a Fraud

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) has been telling a story for years. It’s a deeply romantic story about her parents and their young love, fraught with the familial bigotry of an earlier time. Here’s how she told it this week in a video she released in preparation for her 2020 run: My daddy always said he ... Read More

Two Minnesota Republican Candidates Assaulted

Two Republican candidates for state office in Minnesota have been physically assaulted in recent days, leading prominent Republican lawmakers to caution their Democratic colleagues against employing inflammatory rhetoric. Republican state representative Sarah Anderson was punched in the arm last week after ... Read More

How Will the Senate Races Break?

How will the Senate races break? We have less public polling to go on than in recent years, so answering that question is harder than ever. But the news is more optimistic for Republicans than it was a month ago.   Waves and Breakers Four years ago, I projected in mid September that if “historical ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Origins of Progressive Agony

What has transformed the Democratic party into an anguished progressive movement that incorporates the tactics of the street, embraces maenadism, reverts to Sixties carnival barking, and is radicalized by a new young socialist movement? Even party chairman Tom Perez concedes that there are “no moderate ... Read More