Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Sunday hit back at Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) and Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) after their criticisms of him over national security, saying that their spending policies did more to harm the country.
"Those are the people who are bankrupting the government and not letting enough money be left over for national defense," he added.
Christie and King pushed Congress to approve disaster funding to help northeastern states recover from Hurricane Sandy last year, with the two Republicans sharply criticizing the House GOP for delays in approving supplemental relief.
King on Sunday told the AP that Paul's comments were "indefensible.”
Paul’s comments are the latest in a high-profile debate between Paul and establishment Republicans who have criticized his libertarian views on national security.
Paul has questioned the legitimacy of the administration’s drone strikes and publicly praised National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden who disclosed classified information on secret surveillance programs.
Christie in a speech Thursday warned against a “dangerous” libertarian streak running through the GOP, the first salvo in the fight between the two possible 2016 GOP presidential contenders.
And King on Sunday said that Paul’s views on national security were damaging the Republican brand, calling his support for Snowden “madness.”
On Sunday, though, Paul defended his views, questioning the need for the NSA’s collection of phone and Internet data.
"I don't mind spying on terrorists," Paul said. "I just don't like spying on all Americans."
Paul said privacy issues resonate with young voters.
"If you talk about some privacy issues like that, I think you will find youth coming to you," Paul said.