Sen. Rand Paul has made clear that he won’t stand with John Bolton or Rudy Giuliani if they’re nominated to be Donald Trump’s Secretary of State.
Paul, a Kentucky Republican who represents the party’s libertarian wing, told Reason Magazine Tuesday that he’d vote against their confirmation in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee because of their support for the Iraq War.
“I can’t support anybody to be our secretary of state who didn’t learn the lesson of the Iraq War,” Paul told Reason.
That could matter: Paul sits on the Foreign Relations Committee, which is split 10-9. Paul told Reason that he’d prefer the committee’s less hawkish chairman, Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, who’s also on Trump’s short list.
“I think he would be less likely to say, ‘Tomorrow we need to drop bombs on Iran,’” Paul said.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who lost to Trump, had supported the military intervention in Iraq that the Bush administration justified with intelligence that turned out to be faulty.
Though she later regretted her 2002 Senate vote to authorize the war, Clinton was instrumental in the Obama administration’s 2012 effort to oust Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
As a presidential candidate, Trump criticized both administrations’ policies as contributing to the ongoing chaos in the Middle East and the rise of the Islamic State.
“I don’t think anybody believed that he was going to be libertarian on foreign policy,” Paul told Reason, “but there was at least a glimmer of hope that he would be less of an interventionist than Clinton.”
Paul called Bolton, a former United Nations Ambassador in the Bush administration and a well-known saber-rattler on Iran, “unhinged.”
Neither Bolton nor Giuliani, the nearly as hawkish former New York mayor, “represent even the mainstream of foreign policy,” Paul said.