When a conservative guest appears on CNN, he or she can expect to be hammered by a host attempting to drive a wedge between Republicans. That’s what happened early Thursday afternoon, when Rand Paul was on the CNN Right Now program and anchor Brianna Keilar attempted to use an “odd feud” between the Kentucky Congressman and Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney to accuse them of engaging in a “butt-kissing contest” that’s “unbecoming of two members of Congress.”
Isn't this kind of unsolicited metaphor "unbecoming" a "Facts First" news network?
You, at times, have been critical at certain policies as well. And when I look at these tweets, you're tagging Donald Trump in them, both of you. And I wonder if even as we're seeing this discussion online highlight, I think, two really important different philosophies on foreign policy, do you worry that it's devolving a bit into this butt-kissing contest that's a little unbecoming of two members of Congress?
PAUL: Well, I think these are very important things. Should we stay in Afghanistan forever? That's an important debate for the country. It's also an important debate for the Republican Party. And I campaigned all across Kentucky. In fact, I campaigned all across the country saying that the $50 billion a year we're spending in Afghanistan is throwing money down a rat hole....
So this isn't just about me butting heads with the never-Trumpers and the Cheney family, this is about me saying this is what President Trump believes. I think President Trump has said for more than a decade that we should get out of Afghanistan, but also that the Iraq war and regime change was a mistake.
The Cheneys and the John Boltons, they're all for regime change. They want to remake the world in our image by toppling people militarily. And I think the president really gets that that's a mistake.
Earlier, the CNN host began the Cheney segment of the interview by recalling "Anyone who has been looking at your Twitter account here the last day has gotten some drama from it because you and Congresswoman Liz Cheney have been getting into a contentious exchange."
She noted to Sen. Paul that "You took issue with her for, in your words, advocating for endless war, which you're against." And she quoted Rep. Cheney's response: "I stand with Donald Trump and our men and women in uniform who will never surrender to terrorists, unlike Rand Paul, who seems to have forgotten that today is 9/11," and then asked "What was your reaction to that?"
Paul said "I guess the Cheneys, both Dick and Liz, is that they've always been never-Trumpers. They hate President Trump's foreign policy. They want to stay in Afghanistan forever. They're apologizing for John Bolton, they love John Bolton. So, really, they're part of this foreign policy swamp that has been trying to undermine President Trump
It didn’t take long for Cheney to reply angrily on Twitter:
Hi @RandPaul I know the 2016 race was painful for you since you were such a big loser (then & now) with a dismal 4.5% in Iowa.
No surprise since your motto seems to be “Terrorists First, America Second.”