2016 Presidential hopeful Senator Rand Paul condemned Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton over her role in the Benghazi scandal in an address to over 800 San Diego Republicans Saturday night.
Paul, the featured guest for the San Diego County Republican Party’s annual Lincoln Reagan Dinner, also emphasized the importance of the separation of powers in government, and told Republicans that they needed to become the party of the entire Bill of Rights.
A buzzing drone hovered above the room as Senator Paul began his address. The drone had been brought in as a reference to Paul’s famous filibuster calling for President Barack Obama’s clarification on whether the federal government believed it was constitutional to use drones to kill U.S. citizens on American soil.
In his remarks, Paul recounted his political path and experiences in the Senate. He spoke of the mere one-sixth of “non-essential” designated government employees who were sent home during the 2013 government shutdown that was blown far out of proportion in the media.
Paul then moved to discuss the importance of government separation of powers.
“Really the worst thing that the President’s done to the country is the collapse of the separation of powers,” Paul stated–worse, he said, than Obamacare and Dodd-Frank. The idea of the separation of powers “came from Montesquieu. It was this idea that each branch would be coequal and they would check the power of the others.” Montesquieu warned, he said, “that if the executive branch begins to legislate that a type of tyranny will ensue.”
Paul concluded: “There needs to be more jealous guarding of power and protection of power to each branch.”
Referring to the recent expiration of the Patriot Act, Paul recounted the experience of John Adams as he watched James Otis giving testimony in court concerning the issuance of general warrants by England’s King. He said that is what led Adams to say that “it [execution of general warrants] was the spark that led the revolution.”
Paul went on to make his case against government collection of digital and phone records, which had used the Patriot Act as justification. He called the data collection execution of general warrants.
Then he spoke of Benghazi. What was most horrifying about the acts surrounding the events on September 11, 2012 in Benghazi, Libya wasn’t the lying or the cover-up, Paul said. Rather, the events in the nine months leading up to the murder of four Americans, including the U.S. Ambassador, were the most worrisome. One six person Special Forces team was removed in February, another in March, Paul told the crowd. In April 2012 tensions had been rising, so the team on the ground requested a DC-3 airplane in case of emergency. But Hillary Clinton’s State Department denied it, Paul said.
“Three days after Hillary Clinton denied the plane, you know what Hillary Clinton’s State Department approved? A hundred thousand dollar request for a charging station for the Vienna embassy. Seems we were sprucing up, we were greening up the embassy.”
He recounted the $650,000 spent on State Department Facebook ads, $700,000 on landscaping at the Brussels embassy, $100,000 on comedians for the “Make Chai Not War” Tour to India, and $5 million for crystal barware for embassies.
Then, in August 2012, said Paul, “Ambassador Stevens begins sending cables, cable after cable, describing the deterioration of the situation” in Benghazi. Hillary Clinton was “making decision after decision that made our people vulnerable.
He concluded that her conduct “should forever preclude her from being Commander In Chief.”
Paul also said:
I think the things that we’re for we need to be boldly for and if anything be more boldly for, balanced budgets, low taxes stimulate the economy… lower regulations, all of that.
We need to become the party of the entire Bill of Rights. We need to be the party that champions individual freedom and liberty for everyone.
We have to be the party that’s with tattoos, without tattoos, with earrings, without earrings…We’ve got to be a party that looks like America.
But the thing is is that there are parts of the Bill of Rights that haven’t gotten much attention…
The Sixth Amendment says that you have a right to a trial by jury. Says you have the right to a speedy trial. And people say, well who could be opposed to a trial by jury? I could name names. We had a debate in 2011, we had a debate over whether American citizens could be detained indefinitely without a trial. And I’m having this debate with another Republican Senator. I won’t name names, he’s from Arizona.
Paul recalled asking the Senator, “Do you mean an American citizen can be sent to Guantanamo Bay without a lawyer, without a trial, forever? And he said yeah, if they’re dangerous.” Paul said he responded to the Senator, “Who gets to decide who’s dangerous and who’s not?”
Paul then recounted the story of Kalief Browder. Browder spent three years at Rikers Island Prison Complex without a trial before being released. “The person that accused him of the crime was in the country illegally, never was found again.” Paul stated Browder was beaten by gangs and attempted suicide several times while in prison before his release. Sadly, Bowder succeeded in committing suicide last week, Paul stated.
You wonder why people are unhappy? And you want to say we want to be the party that brings people in and says we’re going to be your party? We’re going to be their party when we defend the Fourth Amendment just as much as we defend the second.
When we become the party that proclaims the entire Bill of Rights with the passion of Patrick Henry, we’re going to dominate, we’re going to win it so big, no one’s going to have ever seen anything like it in their life.
Paul closed by saying, “When we are the party that proclaims our message with the passion of Patrick Henry, but also with the hope and the image of a man coming over the hills singing, then we will dominate and then we will win California.”
Ahead of his speech, Paul answered questions from the press. Paul was asked about the potential of another summer in which Central Americans and foreign nationals from around the globe arrive at the Southwest border. If the border were as secure as Paul would like it to be, how would he address those that arrive there?
“If you have compassion without security then you have a recipe for a humanitarian disaster,” he said.
“The biggest prevention of illegal immigration is having significant legal immigration,” Paul explained. “That’s one of the best ways you secure your border is having an adequate visa program, having an adequate legal program, but you also, in order to have security if people don’t obey your rules, they have to go immediately back.”
Breitbart California Politics Editor Jon Fleischman said of the evening and Paul’s speech, “Senator Paul’s comment that the GOP should be as passionate about the 4th amendment as it is about the 2nd really resonated with the crowd. It was clear that this was a very friendly audience for the Senator’s pro-liberty message.”
Senator Paul was also speaker at the Orange County Republican Party Flag Day fundraising dinner Friday night.
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana