Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is calling for President Barack Obama to convene a joint session of Congress and make the case that the United States must “destroy” the Islamic State terrorist organization.
“If I were president, I would call a joint session of Congress. I would lay out the reasoning of why ISIS is a threat to our national security and seek congressional authorization to destroy ISIS militarily,” Paul said in a statement to the Associated Press late last week.
The comment is similar to what Paul said in a recent interview with Breitbart News, in which he said he would convene a joint session of Congress if he were president to make the case for military action against ISIS.
Paul told Breitbart News last week that “if I were in President Obama’s shoes at this time, I would have called Congress back, I would have had a joint session of Congress, and I would have said ‘this is why ISIS is a threat to the United States, to the stability of the region, to our embassy, to our diplomats, and this is why I’m asking you today to authorize air attacks.”‘
“I’m betting if he would have done that to a joint session of Congress, he would have gotten approval. When you don’t do it through Congress, and you do it yourself, then you really have not galvanized the will of the nation. As a true leader, what I think we need to do is galvanize the nation when we go to war,” Paul said.
But the use of the word “destroy” in the comment to the Associated Press strengthens his case even more and sharply contrasts with the Obama White House–which hasn’t offered any strategy on the matter.
“We don’t have a strategy yet” on how to confront ISIS, Obama said in a roundly-criticized recent remark.
Paul has been working on toughening himself up on foreign policy ahead of the 2016 presidential race, in which he is expected to run for the White House. Most polling at this time shows Paul leading the pack of potential 2016 GOP candidates, and foreign policy is one of the places where Paul has been focusing much of his time on reframing the image he’s been painted into by critics who say he’s a “non-interventionist” or “isolationist.”
In a recent interview with Meet The Press, Paul called Hillary Clinton–Obama’s ex-Secretary of State–a “war hawk” for fighting “Hillary’s War” in Libya, in which the Obama administration used military might to wipe out Muammar Gaddafi without seeking congressional authorization. In a subsequent interview with Breitbart News, Paul elaborated on that comment, saying that the consequences of “Hillary’s War” and her and other Obama officials’ push to arm the “rebels” against Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad were that Libya and Syria were destabilized, leading to the 2012 Benghazi terror attack and the rise of Islamic State.