Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) continued the debate between him and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) on Friday’s “Kelly File” on the Fox News Channel, saying that he thought Rubio’s comments were “rude and intemperate” and that “I never start a fight, but I’m happy to finish a fight.”
“Oh, you know, I never start a fight but I’m happy to finish a fight. I think the remarks were a little bit rude and intemperate…I didn’t start this, Shannon, you know. But what I would say is that the remarks were intemperate and rude, and so we responded to them. But I would say I don’t doubt his sincerity, but I don’t think a policy of isolationism really has worked with regard to Cuba. We’ve isolated, we haven’t traded, we haven’t had diplomatic relations and the Castros have remained in power for 50 years and yet we trade with China, we trade with Vietnam, we trade with Laos, we trade with a host of countries that don’t have perfect human rights records, and yet we don’t trade with Cuba. I think maybe trade might loosen things up and might also help to topple the Castros” he stated.
Paul responded to Rubio’s earlier claim that the embargo with Cuba didn’t work because it had too many holes in it by asking, “if the embargo’s full of holes and doesn’t work, why does he want to keep it so much?”
He re-iterated his point that the Cuban embargo hasn’t worked, but trade with other countries such as Vietnam and China has worked, declaring “in the 1970s we thought it was a terrible idea for Nixon to open up trade with Red China, but you know what, it turns out that it has been good. It has improved things. It’s not perfect, but it’s much better to trade than to have war. And I think what Nixon did opening China probably was the right thing to do. And I think we have a better chance of defeating Castro with trade than we do with an embargo that just simply hasn’t worked.”
Paul also addressed his claims that Rubio was an “isolationist,” a label that is often ascribed to Paul, by arguing that because he supports diplomacy and trade with many countries, he is not isolationist, while people who want the US to avoid engagement with Cuba are the real isolationists. Paul also denied that the fight between him and Rubio had anything to do with the two jockeying for position in the 2016 presidential race.
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