Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has already promised to block several potential appointments in president-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet. Appearing on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Paul explained to host John Dickerson why he would still make good on his promise to block John Bolton and Rudy Giuliani should one of them be nominated for Secretary of State.
Paul, who supported the president-elect, did so because Trump called the Iraq War a mistake. Paul said that Trump calling the war a mistake “was an important historical lesson,” one that Bolton, Giuliani and now potentially Mitt Romney did not learn:
I want people that run the State Department who agree with Donald Trump. And so I’m trying to help. I’m trying to be helpful here. And the problem with both Bolton and Giuliani is they’re unrepentant in their support for the Iraq War. They haven’t learned any of the lessons. And if we don’t learn the lessons in the Iraq War, we’re liable to commit it again.
The senator went on to cite Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s support for not only the Iraq War but also other interventions in places such as Libya as the reason why he could not support her. “I think regime change in the Middle East hasn’t worked,” he stated. “I think that it’s important that we get someone in the head of the State Department that understands what Donald Trump said over and over again: the Iraq war was a mistake.”
Paul differentiated Romney’s stance, saying, “I’m not sure I would call him unrepentant. I would say that he is somebody who has supported the Iraq War, and I would want to hear more.”
Later in the interview, the senator mentioned his hesitation with Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), Trump’s CIA Director appointee. Paul promised that “he’s going to have to also answer to my liking whether or not he’s still for torture, whether or not he’s for waterboarding.”
He also took issue with Pompeo’s support to expand the National Security Agency’s (NSA) power. “Many of the NSA powers were done in secret without the knowledge of most members of Congress,” he noted. Paul popularly carried out a 10.5-hour filibustered in 2015 in an effort to reduce the NSA’s power to conduct warrantless mass surveillance under the Patriot Act.
Earlier in the week, Paul penned an op-ed for Rare similarly explaining why he could not support Bolton:
Bolton is a longtime member of the failed Washington elite that Trump vowed to oppose, hell-bent on repeating virtually every foreign policy mistake the U.S. has made in the last 15 years — particularly those Trump promised to avoid as president.
You can watch the full interview below: