LAS VEGAS, Nevada — Texas Rep. Ron Paul bashed neoconservatives Monday and said that he wouldn’t use taxpayer money to aid an ally even if it was in mortal danger.*
Paul made the comment while taking questions from the press after he unveiled his economic plan to a raucous crowd of supporters at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. Part of Paul’s economic proposal calls for an end to foreign aid. In light of that, The Daily Caller asked Paul whether he would support aid to an ally that was in “mortal danger,” such as when America provided aid through Lend-Lease to Great Britain (and other countries) to fight Nazi Germany, starting before American entry into World War II.
“I would let the banks make their own decisions, I wouldn’t prohibit them. But I wouldn’t take money from these people to give it,” he said, referring to taking tax money from the audience.
Paul went on to criticize foreign aid more generally as “taking money from poor people in this country and giving it to the rich people in those poor countries.” He also said choosing sides in conflicts abroad is often futile.
“This administration is getting involved in Uganda now!” he exclaimed. “What I am convinced of is that when you pick up foreign aid and send it to these countries, you say, ‘well, yes, you can’t be so cold and heartless, these people are starving, why can’t we just send them food and help them out.’ Well, it turns out they are always fighting!”
Asked by a member of the press to address criticism from “neoconservatives” and “foreign policy hawks” who suggest Paul is too liberal on foreign policy, Paul expressed bafflement at what he views as the changing definition of conservatism.
“We have to be careful on our definitions because there was a time when conservative meant you didn’t want to spend money,” he said. (RELATED: Paul promises to save $1 trillion in first year of his presidency)
Paul then proceeded to bash neoconservative foreign policy proposals.
“It sounds like neoconservatives want endless wars and they don’t want the Congress to make decisions,” he said. “They want the president to go to wars at will and that money has no bearing.”
To neoconservatives, who he said would “like about two more” wars, Paul offered the advice of former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.
“[Gates] is not exactly one of our close allies, [but] he said that anyone thinking about having another war under these conditions ought to have their head examined and I think the American people would agree with him,” Paul said.
To a questioner who suggested that Obama was no longer an anti-war figure, Paul said that was just another reason why he needs to be the Republican nominee.
“You made a very good point on why I better be the nominee if you care about this war,” he said.
Paul is in Las Vegas to participate in Tuesday night’s CNN Western Republican presidential debate. He currently stands in fifth place in the Republican field with a RealClearPolitics polling average of 8.1 percent.
*Correction: This article originally stated that Paul said he wouldn’t have aided the UK against Nazi Germany under Lend-Lease. A spokesman for Paul’s campaign contacted TheDC and said the congressman was talking in a current context, not speaking to what he would have done before American entry into World War II.