Monday, 10 August 2015

Rand Paul Becomes More Outspoken in Criticism of Trump

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Until recently, presidential candidate Senator Rand Paul (shown, R-Ky.) had not been openly critical of business magnate Donald Trump, who polled first among Republican presidential candidates in a CBS News Poll conducted by telephone from July 29-August 2, 2015, receiving a 24-percent approval rating. However, Paul has recently broken his silence, starting with his criticism of Trump’s refusal, at the beginning of at the beginning of the August 6 Fox News Republican candidates’ debate, to pledge his support to the eventual GOP nominee in 2016 and to not run an independent campaign against that person, drew immediate fire from Paul, who shouted out: “This is what’s wrong!”

After Fox News moderator Bret Baier acknowledged him, Paul continued:

Hey, look, look! He’s already hedging his bet on the Clintons, OK? So if he doesn’t run as a Republican, maybe he supports Clinton, or maybe he runs as an independent.... but I’d say that he’s already hedging his bets because he’s used to buying politicians.

Three days later, on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace played a video clip of the exchange between Paul and Trump during Thursday night’s debate and asked the Kentucky senator: “I want to go past that moment and ask you big picture. Senator, what do you think of Donald Trump?” 

Paul replied:

Well, I don't think we should reward vulgarity. I don’t think vulgarity equates to insight. And so, because you can shout and call people names and call someone stupid or call someone fat, is that really what we're going to make the decision on for who is going to be our nominee?

You know, I came out of the Tea Party movement. And part of the Tea Party movement is we were upset with fake conservatives and Republicans who weren’t conservative, Republicans who were for Obamacare and Republicans who were for the bank bailouts.

Well, that's Donald Trump. He’s been for all of these liberal policies and now, because he can stand up and say vulgar things he’s a truth teller.

Well, the truth is, what is he for? I have no idea whether he’s conservative. He really could be a liberal for all I’m concerned. I have no idea what his real philosophy is other than he’s for promoting himself.

The vulgarity to which Paul referred was also addressed during the August 6 debate, when one of the debate moderators, Fox News host Megyn Kelly, stated that Trump’s unusual candor was not “without its downsides, in particular, when it comes to women.”

“You've called women you don’t like ‘fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals,’ noted Kelly.

“Only Rosie O’Donnell,” Trump responded flippantly, drawing applause. 

“For the record, it was well beyond Rosie O’Donnell,” Kelly continued. “You once told a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees. Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president?”

Trump dismissed the charge by stating that he doesn’t “have time for total political correctness.”

Paul also wrote an opinion piece for The Journal by IJReview posted on August 8, titled, “Don’t Fall for a Fake Conservative,” in which he wrote: “It amazes me that anyone in the Tea Party movement could possibly consider Clinton/Reid/Pelosi supporter Donald Trump for President.”

In the article, Paul admitted that he honestly has no idea what Trump’s real philosophy is, observing that the billionaire real estate mogul “was liberal before he was conservative, and has openly professed for decades that his views are those of a Democrat.” Among the factors in Trump’s past that disqualify him from being called a conservative, Paul noted:

This is a guy who said in 1999 that he was a strong supporter of the United Nations. He was for partial birth abortion before he was against it. He lavished praise on the bank bailouts. He was for Obamacare before he was against it and has said he’s “liberal on health care.”

Paul also noted that during last week’s debate, he reminded Trump that conservatives in the Republican Party have spent decades opposing a single-payer system like the socialized medicine of Canada and England. Paul told Trump: “News flash, the Republican Party’s been fighting against a single-payer system ... for a decade. So I think you're on the wrong side of this if you’re still arguing for a single-payer system.”

As Paul reminded his readers, Trump dodged the objection, stating: “I don’t think you heard me. You're having a hard time tonight.” To which, even Fox moderator moderator Brett Baier commented: “Mr. Trump, it’s not just your past support for single-payer health care. You’ve also supported a host of other liberal policies…. You’ve also donated to several Democratic candidates, Hillary Clinton included, Nancy Pelosi."

However, continued Paul: 

The problem is, I had heard his answer and, like many of his answers, it made absolutely no sense. What I heard was that he was once for a single-payer system — today, he’s against Obamacare but still kind of likes the concept of single-payer and isn’t sure it works.

No conservative in America supports a single-payer government-run healthcare system, and yet around 25 percent of Republicans seem to favor Trump. How can this be possible? How can a quarter of the GOP support a guy who was a Republican, then an Independent, then a Democrat, and then a Republican again?

When we watched last week’s debate, practically all of the other candidates seemed more “presidential” than Trump, and several had better conservative credentials.  As to why Trump continues to lead in opinion polls, perhaps the explanation offered by Paul during an interview on CBS This Morning on August 6 is worth considering: “He had a little bit of help. Y’all covered him with about a billion dollars’ worth of news media.”

 Photo: AP Images

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