ROCK HILL, South Carolina — Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) offered a brutal critique of his fellow presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), for Rubio’s support of amnesty for illegal aliens.
In 2013, “Rubio teamed up with the Hillary Clinton wing [of the Democratic Party] on immigration, teamed up with Chuck Schumer on immigration,” Paul told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview here on Friday night over pizza and beer at Millstone Pizza and Taphouse.
“I think it’s been a little bit forgotten in some of the debate, but yeah—he was a part of the ‘Gang of Eight.’ At some point in time, he probably needs to be made to own it. He does own it. It is his baby, but he seems to have disowned his baby right now.”
Rubio has not been asked in any of the presidential debates about the only legislative accomplishment he’s had as a U.S. Senator — passing the ‘Gang of Eight’ amnesty bill through the U.S. Senate.
Paul thinks Rubio should be asked about that accomplishment during the upcoming debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
“I think it should,” Paul said when asked about the immigration bill, along with the pending Pacific region free-trade bill. “There will be less people and the answers will be longer—90 seconds—so I’m hoping you do get more contrast between the candidates and that we have more of a chance to get involved. We’re very hopeful that this debate will—I’m sure everyone else says that too—be more helpful to our cause.”
The ‘Gang of Eight’ amnesty bill was championed by Rubio, along with Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Michael Bennet (D-CO), John McCain (R-AZ), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Debate on that issue can only help conservatives like Paul, and hurt candidates like Rubio and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
The GOP-led House did not act on the unpopular bill.
Of the 15 remaining 2016 GOP presidential candidates, four served in the U.S. Senate when Rubio pushed the amnesty bill through the chamber: Rubio, Graham, Paul and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).
Both Paul and Cruz voted against the Rubio-Graham amnesty bill.
Graham hasn’t had an opportunity to back Rubio up in debates, because Graham was relegated to the undercard stage in the first three debates. Graham will not appear even on the undercard stage on Tuesday night, due to the lack of any serious support for his presidential campaign.
Schumer praised Rubio for his work on the gang’s amnesty bill, in a recent interview with CNN.
“He was not only totally committed — he was in that room with us, four Democrats, four Republicans—some very conservative like Marco, some very liberal,“ said Schumer, the likely next Democratic Senate leader once current Senate Minority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) retires after the 2016 election.
“For hours a day, week after week after week, he was smart. He was well-prepared. He knew when to hold, when to fold. His fingerprints are all over that bill,” Schumer said.
“He understood it, he molded it, he made it a tough path to citizenship,” Schumer added. “But we all agreed it would have to be a tough path to citizenship. But he was all for it.”
Paul, in his interview with Breitbart News here, also explained why earlier in the evening—while appearing on Chris Matthews’ Hardball program on MSNBC—he called former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential frontrunner, a “neo-con.”
“It turns the traditional separation of the vote upside down, if it were me versus Hillary Clinton,” Paul said, on why he’s highlighting Clinton’s history of egging on war in places like Iraq, Libya, and more. “It wouldn’t be a traditional divide and people would have to think about foreign policy instead of saying one side’s always here, and one side’s always there. I truly think she’s more likely to take us back into war in the Middle East because I think she’s reckless.”
“She’s in many ways like Marco Rubio in that they both want to prove their bravado,” Paul told Breitbart News.
“‘I’m Hillary Clinton and I’m strong so I’m going to do a no-fly zone.’ The problem with a no-fly zone for her or for Marco Rubio is that the no-fly zone is a space where somebody is already flying. Iraq, for better or for worse, has invited Iran in and has invited Russia in. So if Iraq is allowing Russia to fly in your air space, and you declare a no-fly zone in a zone where they’re already flying, it’s a little different.”
Paul has been pushing this line of criticism against both Clinton and Rubio aggressively, appearing on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday to argue that Clinton and Rubio are basically “the same person.”