Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is firing back at Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) after Graham claimed that Paul and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) “were empowering the enemy” because of concerns they had over a meeting with the members of the Trump administration regarding war powers.
Paul and Lee were perturbed after hearing from Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, CIA Director Gina Haspel and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley on Wednesday. The constitutional lawmakers responded by blasting the federal bureaucrats publicly for their embarrassing and demeaning pro-war display.
GOP Sen. Mike Lee goes off on the Trump briefing: "They had to leave after 75 minutes, while they’re in the process of telling us that we need to be good little boys and girls and run along and not debate this in public. I find that absolutely insane. I think it’s unacceptable." pic.twitter.com/rs6LOimfAm
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) January 8, 2020
This triggered Graham, who was a supporter of the Iraq war and was a close colleague of Sen. John McCain before that songbird finally croaked in 2018, and prompted him to attack Paul and Lee for their principles.
“They’re libertarians. I think they’re overreacting, quite frankly,” Graham said to reporters regarding Paul and Lee following their press conference.
“Go debate all you want to. I’m going to debate you. Trust me, I’m going to let people know that at this moment in time to play this game with the War Powers Act … whether you mean to or not, you’re empowering the enemy,” he added.
“I think it’s sad when people have this fake sort of drape of patriotism and anybody that disagrees with them is not a patriot,” Paul said to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in response to Graham’s cheap shots. “I love my country. I have many family members that serve in the military and continue to serve. I love my country as much as the next guy.”
“For him to insult and say we’re not as patriotic as he is — he hasn’t read the Constitution … he insults the Constitution, our Founding Fathers, and what we do stand for in this republic by making light of it and accusing people of lacking patriotism. I think that’s a low, gutter type of response,” he added.
Paul and Lee intend to support a war powers resolution that aims to limit President Trump’s ability to strike on Iran without the explicit authorization of Congress. The measure passed the House today on a largely party-line vote.
President Trump is siding with neocons like Graham and former national security advisor John Bolton and declaring that he has the ultimate authority to make war without any respect for checks and balances:
Smart analysis, I fully agree! https://t.co/0YMU7GunDt
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 9, 2020
While Paul remains a supporter of President Trump despite this disagreement, he believes this problem is much bigger than one commander-in-chief. This is about restoring an impediment against war-making that has been lost throughout the years as the U.S. has morphed from a constitutional republic into a rogue globalist empire.
“To me, this is much bigger than the Trump administration,” Paul said. “This question we have about who has the war-making power, this goes back to Truman in 1950. We fought war after war, the Korean War, the Vietnam war, without having them authorized by Congress.”
“It’s been a tug-of-war. Many people have written that Congress and senators have abdicated their role in declaring war. That’s true. What Senator Lee and I are doing is standing up and saying the power resides in Congress and we’re going to fight for it,” he added.