(VIRGINIA BEACH, VA) – Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky on Tuesday condemned two of President-elect Donald Trump’s rumored candidates for secretary of state.
Paul, a Republican who made a failed bid for the White House in 2016, lambasted former UN Ambassador John Bolton and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani — both of whom have been reported to be top contenders for secretary of state.
After calling Bolton a “menace” in an op-ed earlier Tuesday, Paul told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that Bolton was “totally unfit” to be secretary of state.
“I couldn’t vote for Bolton unless he repudiated his support for the Iraq War and repudiated his support for regime change throughout the Middle East, repudiated his call for immediately bombing Iran,” Paul said. “I mean really, you want a diplomat in charge of diplomacy. You don’t want a bomb-thrower.
“So no, John Bolton is totally unfit to be secretary of state, and I hope that the Trump administration will say, ‘You know what, he does not represent what Donald Trump represents.'”
Bolton, who worked in George W. Bush’s administration, is a vocal proponent of the Iraq War, which Trump routinely disavowed along the campaign trail, insisting that he was against it from the onset — although prior statements showed otherwise.
Moving on to Giuliani, Paul said it would be “a stiff, uphill climb” for him to vote for confirmation of the top Trump ally, citing his approval of the Iraq War and his ties to foreign governments. He said it was “worrisome” because “that was a big complaint of ours with Hillary Clinton.”
“And the thing Donald Trump said over and over again was that he was opposed to the Iraq War, and he learned that lesson that regime change in the Middle East was not a good idea,” Paul said. “And yet I don’t see Giuliani coming out with statements like that. I certainly don’t see John Bolton — I think both of them have been big cheerleaders for the Iraq War and for more intervention in the Middle East, so I hope Donald Trump will pick somebody consistent with what he said on the campaign trail: The Iraq War was a mistake. Regime change in the Middle East was a mistake.”
“Giuliani and Bolton are very similar,” Paul said. “Bolton just has a more extensive cheerleading background with regard to war in the Middle East.”
He added that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Bob Corker, and President of the Council on Foreign Relations Richard Haass would all be better for the job than Giuliani or Bolton.