Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) called the border wall proposal hammered out by congressional negotiators a “big victory” for President Trump in an interview with Sirius XM’s Breitbart News Daily Wednesday morning.
“I think in the end, Trump won a big victory here, because everybody else had folded,” he said in the interview with host and Breitbart News Editor-in-Chief Alex Marlow.
“At Christmastime, everybody else was folding, and just saying, ‘Oh the Democrats gained control of the House, this is the best that we’ll ever do.’ So he got $1.375 billion for border security that wasn’t in there before,” he said.
Before the government shutdown, Democrats offered no money for a physical barrier. One option proposed by Democrats included $1.6 billion to $2.5 billion — none of which could be spent on a wall.
“I think the president wanted $5 billion and Nancy Pelosi wanted $0, so until she got him to $0 there was going to be no compromise,” Paul said of those discussions.
“So I think there will be a splitting of the difference, I think the number that’s being floated around is $1.375 billion — not all of that for the wall, but some of it will be,” he said.
“Democrats can say none of it’s for the wall, but in reality it’s for a steel slat barrier that certainly looks pretty hard to get over for me,” he added.
Paul also spoke about Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s (D) comments endorsing abortion after a baby is born.
He said as a doctor who has worked to save premature babies’ lives, “It just sort of grosses me out to even think these people are thinking a six, seven, eight-pound baby at the time of birth could be aborted.”
“The person who has the stomach … to commit that kind of murder at that time of a full-term baby is somebody who really doesn’t have a conscience,” he said. “[Democrats] have really gone off the deep end on this.”
“It’s not a small feat to kill a six or seven-pound baby. It takes considerable effort, and it’s especially gruesome,” he said.
Paul also discussed his opposition to President Trump’s attorney general nominee William Barr. He said he opposed Barr’s nomination on the grounds that he supports the government’s ability to surveil Americans’ phone and financial records without a warrant.
“Barr has been very explicit that he doesn’t think the Fourth Amendment applies to your business records once you allow business to capture these records. I disagree,” he said.
“It’s not that I’m against finding out information about people who are committing crimes, but you have to go to a judge first — that’s what our Constitution says,” he said. “He’s been saying the Patriot Act didn’t go far enough, we need to snoop on Americans more.”
Paul also criticized Barr’s positions on guns. He said Barr wants to limit the size of magazines, and in the ’90s was fine with banning semi-automatic weapons.”
“I really just don’t think he’s a very good traditional conservative, and he’s not a Libertarian at all,” he said.
However, he said Barr was strong on executive privilege and executive power, which he said, “appeals to the president.”
“My guess is that he will not let the Mueller thing get out of hand, and I’m actually fine with that,” he said.
“The Mueller investigation — it’s time for it to finish up, and it has become a witch hunt,” he said. “I think he won’t let it become just sort of a big huge clown-car kind of game used to pillory the president.”
Paul also touched on Trump’s recent decision to withdraw from Syria and drawdown troops from Afghanistan.
“I’m very proud of President Trump for being the first president, really in my lifetime, to understand that we have to learn how to declare victory. We’ve been in Afghanistan for 17 years,” he said.
He said the Afghanistan War has morphed from hunting down those responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks into a $51 billion-a-year nation building effort.
He criticized an amendment led by Republican Senate leaders last week rebuking the president for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan precipitously.
“How can leaving after 17 years be precipitous?” he asked.