Rand Paul on John Bolton: I Hope He Was ‘at the Children’s Table’ During Trump-Kim Summit

Tuesday on Fox News Channel’s “Your World,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) pushed back against some of the so-called neo-con reacting to and involved with President Donald Trump summit in Singapore earlier this week with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

Paul took exception to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who insisted the United States maintain a military presence on the Korean peninsula, and to Trump National Security Advisor John Bolton, who he said he hoped was relegated to the “children’s table” during the discussions.

Partial transcript as follows:

CAVUTO: I will belabor this issue one more time, if you will indulge me, because I wanted to have Lindsey Graham on. But he constantly refuses coming on this show. That’s fine.

But the one thing that I did want to get from you is your take on his two extreme views of what can happen here. Either there is peace, or there is war. There is no middle ground. What do you make of that?

PAUL: Well, think that’s atypical of the neoconservatives. They see black and white. They think you’re either Chamberlain or you’re Churchill.

There’s no in between, and there’s no nuance to diplomacy, when, in reality, there’s a great deal of nuance. And so we have to figure out a way forward to get to denuclearization.

But, for example, John Bolton, another Lindsey Graham neocon, for him to say, oh, we’re going to show on the Libyan solution, which was I guess you give up your nuclear weapons, then we kill you, is probably not good for diplomacy either.

So we have to — diplomats should think about what they say before they say them. And we need to be talking about how we can denuclearize North Korea and the whole entire Korean Peninsula. And that involves give and take.

And this is what the neocons will never understand. They think it’s either going to be Hiroshima and unconditional surrender, or that’s what it is. It’s either all or nothing

And really most of diplomacy is not about unconditional surrender. It’s really about trying to figure out what can we give the North Koreans. So I think giving up the war games, which happens twice a year, is a perfectly appropriate thing to do, as President Trump said, as long as there is progress.

It can easily be started again. But that’s a great first step. And North Korea’s has offered to do no more testing.

Now, that’s not denuclearization, but those are two good initial steps. The neocons would never offer any offer carrot, because they’re all about the stick. And they want everybody to just kneel down and behave.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: But one of those neocons, Senator, is at the table. John Bolton was the table. I’m sure the president had that by design. Of course, Mike Pompeo was there as well, and others were there.

But why do you think he did that? Because, of course, the North Koreans were apoplectic over his Libya comments, as you alluded to. And yet there he was. What do you make of it?

PAUL: My hope is that he was at the children’s table and that he wasn’t influencing the discussion among adults.

CAVUTO: Hmm. I think he was at the main table.

But let’s step back from this. And you talk about what the North Koreans might offer down the road as far as more tests and all the rest, and what we are offering to do to stop the joint exercises for the time being.

We could start those back up if we’re not getting signs of progress out of the North Koreans.

But a lot of people have looked at this and said, well, we must have that guarantee, that we must have verifiable proof that the North Koreans are denuclearizing, are starting to dismantle things.

And that does not appear — I stress appear — to be in this agreement.

PAUL: Right. It’s not. I mean, so that will come over time.

They have been duplicitous in the past.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: So should we have volunteered, Senator — I’m sorry sir, but I just want to clear.

Should we have volunteered to go ahead and stop these exercises?

PAUL: Yes, because that can easily be restarted at any point in time. But it shows good will. It’s nothing permanent.

It’s not like giving them money. And I’m not forgiving the North Koreans any money. I would offer them the allure of trade with Japan and South Korea and us, and expanded trade with China, and the allure of what trade and commerce brings basically to a country.

He has to know. He’s traveled the world. His people may not have ever seen the great opulence that there is in South Korea, but he and his leaders know that there is. And they know that there’s starvation in their country.

We offer them the allure of becoming part of the world of nations. But there have — will have to be verifiable tests. And I think that the relinquishment of sanctions, even possibly bringing troops home, are all things that should be dangled out there.

And if any of them are to happen, we have to verifiable nuclear — denuclearization. And it would probably be a ratcheting down of things over a period of time as he shows compliance.

Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor

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