LOS ANGELES — When Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) addressed members of California’s Republican Party on Saturday, he spoke to the audience like a presidential candidate, describing the type of leader he would be as a commander in chief.
Paul told Breitbart News, in an exclusive interview Saturday, that he would likely be announcing a presidential bid in the spring.
His three-day swing to garner support began on the coast of Malibu and ended on the coast at Newport Beach, with a stop in between in Los Angeles, where he conducted an interview with Breitbart News after addressing hundreds of Republicans at their biannual convention at the LAX Marriott.
Paul highlighted California’s importance in terms of shaping the dialogue of the Republican Party moving forward into election season and beyond. He noted that, although participation in California overall has suffered, particularly during “the last couple of presidential cycles,” the Golden State holds a very special recipe for the GOP’s overall success:
California is an example of a blue state where we are going to have to broaden the message and make it more inclusive in order to get new people into the party.
A group of Mexican farm workers were speaking with members of the California Republican National Hispanic Assembly, in Spanish, covered by a member of the Latino press. They expressed frustration with the Democratic Party’s treatment of them, particularly during California’s crippling drought. One woman complained that members of the Democratic Party had even threatened her and her family with deportation.
Paul’s message was one of inclusion. He said, “when we look like the rest of America, white, black, brown, we are going to win again.” Drawing upon his libertarian approach, Paul told Breitbart News that he believes every minority that has ever undergone persecution, including “Japanese Americans, Jewish Americans, and black Americans… really at heart ought to be libertarian, because libertarians believe in the defense of the individual.”
During his speech to the Republican convention, he disputed talk of the GOP taking on a strategy of minority outreach that is similar to that of the Democrats, saying, “I couldn’t disagree more.” Paul posited instead that it was crucial for his party to “reach out to people where they are,” emphasizing the all-inclusive approach Republicans have embodied over the past few years.
During his address, Paul addressed the Benghazi issue, contending that Hillary Clinton should not become president:
And what I would say is, that if you can’t defend our embassy, you won’t send the assets there, you preclude yourself from being considered for commander in chief.
Rand reminded the audience that six months before the Benghazi incident, Clinton had denied the US Embassy in Benghazi’s request for an “old plane” to help diplomats and workers there to get around the country. “Three days later, do you know what she did approve? She approved $100,000 for electrical charging stations in Vienna, [Austria]… we didn’t have enough money for an ancient plane in Libya, but we had money for” electric charging stations in order to help “green up the embassy” in Vienna.
Paul recently voted against President Barack Obama’s legislation to arm Syrian rebels in their fight against the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) in the Senate and was joined by the likes of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
When Breitbart News asked Paul how he would approach the situation if he were commander in chief, he said he “would have called Congress back into a joint session” where he would have addressed them in a way that was “similar to the president’s speech,” but that he would have actually abided by the US Constitution and gone through Congress by “requesting [their] authority to wage war against” the Islamic State.
Paul reprimanded President Obama, saying he is conducting a gross “usurpation of power” by taking “unilateral action,” in which he is “accumulating power that is constitutionally not his; treading upon and obscuring the checks and balances” that were implemented to prevent such action through the Constitution. He cited that, while the president says he abides by the rule of law, his actions show that he goes beyond that “on a daily basis. We need to do everything in our power to stop him from abusing our law.”
He told Breitbart News that while he does, in fact, support going after ISIS, he does “not think arming the Syrian rebels is the appropriate way to do it.”
Syrian rebels have explicitly mapped out their priority as a toppling of the Assad Regime. However, beyond that, their interests do not lie with principles of western democracy, particularly as it relates to Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East:
If the [Syrian] rebels are to win, even the moderate rebels, how many of them do you think will recognize Israel? None. How many of them do you think might turn their arms against Israel? Maybe quite a few. In fact, some of them have said that their goal is to take back the Golan Heights if they can defeat Assad. I think that the one truism of the Middle Eastern morass is that, when we have toppled secular dictators, chaos has ensued and the rise of radical Islam has occurred. Whether this was Hussein being toppled, Mubarak being toppled, Gadaffi being toppled, or potentially Assad being toppled, what comes in their wake is worse than what we had.