Trump: 'Lightweight' Rand Paul doesn't belong in debate
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GOP presidential front-runner Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats ask if they have reason to worry about UK result Trump scramble to rack up accomplishments gives conservatives heartburn Seven years after Sandy Hook, the politics of guns has changed MORE poked at rival Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulPentagon to take bigger role in vetting foreign students after Pensacola shooting Overnight Defense: House passes compromise defense bill | Turkey sanctions advance in Senate over Trump objections | Top general says military won't be 'raping, burning and pillaging' after Trump pardons Rand Paul: 'We need to re-examine' US-Saudi relationship after Florida shooting MORE (R-Ky.) on Twitter on Saturday, calling him a “lightweight” who shouldn’t be allowed in Wednesday’s CNN presidential debate.

Trump needled Paul in a series of tweets:

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Trump’s shots came hours after Paul joked about the GOP frontrunner in an interview with Politico.

“I think I was a little too easy on Donald Trump last time,” Paul said in the interview, referencing a heated exchange the two had in an August Fox News presidential debate. “That’s given in jest," he added.

Later in the interview, Paul unfavorably compared Trump to Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who suspended his presidential bid Friday.

“You have a long-term governor from a large conservative state leaving the field, and meanwhile, the media continues to reinforce a celebrity that really doesn’t have qualifications for office and in fact would alarm me if he were in charge of our nuclear weapons,” Paul said.

“So, really, I think it’s a serious versus the unserious. And there is a danger that if we continue to laud so much attention on basically someone whose level of discourse is that of junior high, I think there’s a problem, there’s a great risk for the country.”