New York Rep. Peter King blasted fellow Republican Rand Paul on Wednesday, claiming he would be a “disastrous” commander-in-chief and accusing him of “feeding into paranoia” about the national security state.
King spoke to MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” about the libertarian-leaning Kentucky senator, who is widely expected to run for president in 2016. “I take it that you would not be comfortable with Rand Paul being the commander-in-chief?” host Joe Scarborough asked the congressman.
“No, I wouldn’t,” said King, an ardent defender of government surveillance and advocate for an aggressive foreign policy. “I think his views would be disastrous, Joe. I think he appeals to the lowest common denominator. This is an isolationist wing from the 1930s. Now you and I can have an honest disagreement about when we should leave Afghanistan, what our policies should be. Rand Paul brings it to this hysterical level.”
“He talks about the CIA trying to kill Americans having coffee in Starbucks, when he talks about President Obama listening to his cell phone conversations, that to me is just feeding into paranoia,” King accused. “We do need an intelligent debate, and I don’t think Rand Paul is capable of having that debate.”
The congressman was referring to Paul’s Senate filibuster last year, after Attorney General Eric Holder refused to answer a question about whether the United States government had the constitutional authority to assassinate Americans on U.S. soil with military drones.
The senator eventually wrung a grudging answer out of Holder, who admitted the president does not have that authority.
King’s repeated snipes at Paul are part of a larger battle between the establishment and libertarian wings of the Republican Party. While politicians like King and Senator John McCain advocate an aggressive national security state at home and abroad, Paul and others big government skeptics believe the U.S. government should be mindful of Americans’ privacy and stop trying to ineffectually police the world.
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