A Republican congressman entangled in an intra-GOP dispute on foreign policy upped the ante on Wednesday when he linked a Senate GOP colleague to Nazi appeasers and anti-Israel sentiment.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has been engaged in a back and forth in recent days with Rep. Peter King (R-NY) and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), all of whom are reportedly considering running for president in 2016, over NSA surveillance and other national security issues.
Much of the spat has been between Paul and Christie. The New Jersey Republican recently accused Paul of “very dangerous thought” for opposing some of the more wider-reaching NSA surveillance programs. But King got into the act on Wednesday, telling CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that Paul reminds him of Nazi-appeasers from the 1930s:
KING: Wolf, what this reminds me of, someone like Senator Paul and others in that isolationist wing – now, the Republicans had this debate back in the 1930s when you had the isolationist and the Charles Lindbergs that said we should appease Hitler. And the Democrats had it in the 1960s when the anti-war movement blamed America first. And in both cases, it hurt the party for years. Each party was hurt for years.
King then suggested that Paul’s preference to cut off aid to Egypt after the recent coup there is anti-Israel. “Senator Paul claims to be a great friend of Israel,” King said, “But yesterday the ambassador to Israel, Ambassador Oren, said that continuing American aid to Egypt is essential to maintain the peace process and to maintain the Egyptian/Israeli peace agreement that was negotiated under President Carter over 30 years ago.”
King also criticized Paul’s opposition to the NSA programs, claiming they have “stopped over 50 attacks,” including one in Paul’s home state of Kentucky. “He just makes these charges about spying and snooping,” King said of Paul. “Again, he makes America the enemy.”
The Republican Party is currently engaged in a battle with itself on foreign policy. The internal cracks showed themselves as wide gaps during the 2012 presidential campaign as Mitt Romney struggled to placate the neocons while trying to appeal to the vast majority of the country that had fallen out of love with wars for democracy.
Now — despite the “Cheney-ites” still holding some sway in the party — the neocons and some of the more hard-line Republicans see Rand Paul’s pseudo-realist, neo-isolationist and libertarian foreign policy and national security views as a threat their primacy within the GOP and they’re going after him with full force.
“There is a real division among Republicans over the heart and soul of the Republican Party right now, isn’t there?” Blitzer asked KIng.
“Wolf, there is,” King said, adding, “the so-called principles of Senator Paul and Senator Cruz, that’s an isolationist trend which will damage our country tremendously. .. And what Governor Christie and I what we believe in, we realize al Qaeda is the enemy. We realize that there’s a terrorist movement out there to kill us and we have to maintain our security and we’re not going to pander and stoke up fears of paranoia the way he’s been doing by talking about spying and snooping, which was only in his mind.”