Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) declared he thinks he “meets [the] criteria” to be president in an interview on Friday’s “Situation Room” on CNN.
Paul was asked whether he was qualified to be president, and responded, “I think other people have to make that judgment, but what I would say is that what we need [is] somebody who has wisdom, somebody who thinks about issues, who isn’t entirely beholden to partisanship from one party or the other, and we need somebody who ultimately if they were in charge of our nuclear arsenal would not be rash, reckless, or eager for war, and I think I do meet that criteria.”
He expressed his opposition to arming the Syrian rebels, arguing “the Syrian rebels don’t seem to be able to hang onto the arms. Most of the arms we’ve given, and the Saudis have given, and the Qataris [have given] have wound up in the hands of ISIS. So, I said a year ago that the irony they will have trouble overcoming is that we will someday be fighting the weapons that we sent into the Middle East.”
Paul also said he supports “military action” such as airstrikes, against ISIS, but that ground troops “should be Turkish, Iraqi, Kurdish, Saudi, Qatari, [from the] United Arab Emirates, Jordanians. I don’t think that US troops, if the people who live there are not willing to fight for their country, then I can’t see having our G.I.s fight for something they’re unwilling to fight for. The Iraqis need to step up.”
He also addressed his position on foreign aid to Israel. Paul stated, “I think a country that’s $18 trillion in debt should not be borrowing money from China to send it to anyone. So, ultimately my goal would be to have no foreign aid. However, I think in the meantime, if we’re going to try, I’ve tried to put restrictions on foreign aid, and I’ve been unsuccessful, and so I’ve come to the conclusion that maybe we should start by eliminating foreign aid from countries that burn our flag and hate us. And I think, that would be a good place to start.” Adding that he believes Israel “ultimately” should be independent, and not reliant on foreign aid, but that he would give money to Israel in the short term until they can do without it.
Paul also stated that he believes the president does not have the authority to close Guantanamo Bay, saying “I’ve been a stickler for the Constitution. I think that the president has tried to do things that I think, frankly, are illegal and unconstitutional. Congress is really the body that legislates and the president is the one who executes that action.”
He added, “while I do think that we should charge the people in Guantanamo Bay and go ahead and give them adjudication and sentence them, I think that really shutting it down, you have to have an answer as to what you’re going to do with these people, and I think bringing them to our country is not the answer,” and that it was a “huge mistake” to not charge people in the prison. He further reported that he is open to military tribunals for prisoners in Guantanamo.
On the Ebola crisis, Paul criticized the Obama administration’s handling of the situation, stating “I don’t want to create panic either, but I think it’s also a mistake on the other side of the coin to underplay the risk of this.” And that, “I think a temporary suspension of flights should be definitely considered.”
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