Rand Paul urges Trump not to open State Department to neocons

Rand Paul urges Trump not to open State Department to neocons
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Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulThe Hill's 12:30 Report Rand Paul: Insurance should be available for a day Overnight Cybersecurity: Trump tweetstorm on Russia probe | White House reportedly pushing to weaken sanctions bill | Podesta to testify before House Intel MORE (R-Ky.) is urging President Trump not to choose prominent neoconservative Elliott Abrams to serve in the No. 2 spot at the State Department.

In an op-ed published in the libertarian website Rare, Paul argues that Abrams would not promote the same foreign policy agenda that Trump described throughout his campaign and since taking office.

“Elliott Abrams is a neoconservative too long in the tooth to change his spots, and the president should have no reason to trust that he would carry out a Trump agenda rather than a neocon agenda,” Paul wrote.

A report emerged on Monday that Trump, along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, would meet with Abrams on Tuesday in the president’s final step in the decision-making process. Tillerson reportedly prefers Abrams to serve as his deputy.

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"Congress has good reason not to trust him — he was convicted of lying to Congress in his previous job," Paul,  a vocal critic of the neoconservative foreign policy community in Washington, said.

Paul added that Abrams’s "neocon agenda trumps his fidelity to the rule of law.”

Trump broke with neoconservatives during his presidential campaign, arguing for an end to nation building and suggesting he was open to warmer relations with Russia.

“He is a loud voice for nation building and when asked about the president’s opposition to nation building, Abrams said that Trump was absolutely wrong; and during the election he was unequivocal in his opposition to Donald TrumpDonald TrumpJohnny Depp apologizes for Trump assassination comment Senate should seek to retain its 'blue slip' tradition for judicial nominees Trump to nominate economic aide for India ambassadorship: reports MORE, going so far as to say, ‘the chair in which Washington and Lincoln sat, he is not fit to sit,’” Paul wrote.

Abrams previously served in the State Department under President Ronald Reagan and on the National Security Council during President George W. Bush’s administration. He is currently a senior fellow for Middle East studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Paul, who during his own presidential campaign criticized fellow candidate Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioWill Republicans stand up to the NRA's insurrection rhetoric? The Hill's Whip List: Senate ObamaCare repeal bill Ivanka Trump turns to House GOP on paid family leave MORE (R-Fla.), for his neoconservative foreign policy, said he hopes Tillerson “will continue the search for expert assistance from experienced, non-convicted diplomats who understand the mistakes of the past and the challenges ahead.”