Rand Paul has re-established himself in national politics as a defender of President-elect Donald Trump’s foreign policy pronouncements.
But the elites are hoping to maneuver a candidate into the Trump administration who lines up with their hawkish establishment policies.
So the establishments Republicans were furious when Rand Paul made shocking statements about their top choice for Secretary of State.
Failed 2012 Presidential nominee Mitt Romney – who was also the leading #NeverTrump Republican – has emerged as one of the top contenders for Secretary of State.
But does he fit the Trump administration?
During the campaign, Trump boldly declared the Iraq War was a mistake.
He also clearly rejected nation building.
The overriding themes in his foreign policy were rejection to globalism and putting “America First”.
In his two failed bids for the White House, Mitt Romney expressed a more hawkish view of world affairs.
He never explicitly said the Iraq War was a mistake, and he advocated for a more belligerent foreign policy towards Russia – a country whom Trump thinks we may be able to ally with to defeat ISIS.
President-elect Trump and Romney have met twice about the position of Secretary of State.
Establishment-minded Republicans believe a Secretary of State Mitt Romney would allow for a more elite friendly foreign policy than what the President-elect campaigned on.
But Senator Rand Paul – who could also be the deciding swing-vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee – which would move confirmation to the whole chamber – expressed his reservations about Romney.
He stated that Trump largely “gets it” on foreign policy, but he views the establishment backed Romney with suspicion.
“Paul’s main concern? Whether Romney is in line with Trump on opposing the Iraq War and regime change.
The libertarian-leaning Paul is one of the most skeptical Republicans in Congress when it comes to military intervention. And while Paul believes that Trump “gets it,” he’s not sure about Romney.
“We need to know more about what Romney’s viewpoint is,” Paul said. “I haven’t heard a lot from him that parallels [Trump], so I want to hear from him that he understands the historical significance of the Iraq war, making us less safe, making the region less safe and emboldening Iran. If people don’t understand the unintended consequences of the Iraq War, I don’t think they understand what Donald Trump said in the election.”
Unless Trump’s nominee can garner Democratic support on the Foreign Relations Committee, Paul could be the difference-maker in confirming a new secretary of state, since the panel is narrowly divided.”
President-elect Trump’s rejection of the Bush era foreign policy was key to rallying voters who had never before voted Republican.
If Romney falls in line with President-elect Trump’s vision for foreign policy, then Senator Paul and other conservatives will back his confirmation.
But if he intends to try and subvert the Trump administration by injecting a more establishment friendly foreign policy, then he could be in for a major confirmation fight.