Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) distanced himself from his father Ron Paul’s controversial views on 9/11 yesterday, saying that some terrorists “are…motivated whether we’re there [in the Middle East] or not.”
The elder Paul triggered outrage on Wednesday, the anniversary of the Septemper 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, when he said that such terror had been “blowback” from American policies in the region.
Politico’s James Arkin reports that Sen. Paul’s comments came during a radio interview with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. The interview gave Paul an opportunity to distinguish his views from those of his father more explicitly and directly than he has done on previous occasions. Sen. Paul echoed his father’s reticence about American military intervention abroad but not his father’s radical foreign policy outlook.
In the past, Sen. Paul has departed from Ron Paul’s views on the Guantánamo Bay prison, saying it should be kept open. He also declined to support Ron Paul’s new Institute for Peace and Prosperity. And while Ron Paul continues to provoke criticism with actions such as a lecture to groups accused of antisemitism, Sen. Paul visited Israel earlier this year to learn firsthand about that country and its security concerns.
On Tuesday evening, Sen. Paul offered a rebuttal to President Barack Obama’s speech to the nan on Syria. Sen. Paul reiterated many of the arguments against intervention in the civil war there, including the persecution of Christians by the Syrian rebels, and added his view that only Congress had the constitutional power to “initiate war.” Obama’s address was widely panned, including by many otherwise sympathetic critics.