Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) said Wednesday that Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulVaccine 'resisters' are a real problem Democrats fret as longshot candidates pull money, attention Journalist Dave Levinthal discusses 'uptick' in congressional stock trade violations MORE’s (R-Ky.) belief that Republicans are partially responsible for the emergence of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorists should disqualify him from being president.
“This is a perfect example of why Senator Paul is unsuited to be Commander-in-Chief,” Jindal said in a statement. “We have men and women in the military who are in the field trying to fight ISIS right now, and Senator Paul is taking the weakest, most liberal Democrat position.”
“It's one thing for Senator Paul to take an outlandish position as a Senator at Washington cocktail parties, but being Commander-in-Chief is an entirely different job,” he continued. “We should all be clear that evil and Radical Islam are at fault for the rise of ISIS, and people like President Obama and Hillary Clinton exacerbate it.”
Jindal is mulling a run for the Republican nomination for president, while Paul is already running.
Paul adviser Doug Stafford fired back, calling Jindal a political opportunist.
“It's ironic Gov Jindal would level such a charge when he flip-flops on crucial issues like common core and national security, and he has cratered his own state's economy and budget,” Stafford said in a statement. “Just last week, Gov. Jindal spoke out in support of Sen. Paul and announced he now opposes the NSA’s illegal and unnecessary domestic bulk data collection, after previously cheerleading for it.”
“As we have seen for the past few weeks, Senator Paul is the only Republican running it seems who is willing to learn from our mistakes in the Middle East in order to keep us safer and stronger,” he added.
Paul, whose anti-interventionist views are at odds with many in his party, blasted Republicans in an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Wednesday, accusing GOP lawmakers of sending arms to the Middle East that have ended up in the hands of Islamic extremists.
“Right now there are 1,500 groups, many of them bad people, including ISIS, that hawks in our party have been arming," Paul said. "ISIS exists and grew stronger because of the hawks in our party, who gave arms indiscriminately, and most of those arms were snatched up by ISIS."
"They created these people," Paul continued. “The same hawks in my party, they loved Hillary Clinton's war in Libya. They just wanted more of it."
Jindal fired back later Wednesday, arguing that U.S. enemies are emboldened when the nation scales back its global influence.
“American weakness, not American strength, emboldens our enemies,” he said. “Senator Paul's illogical argument clouds a situation that should provide pure moral clarity. Islam has a problem. ISIS is its current manifestation. And the next President's job is to have the discipline and strength to wipe ISIS off the face of the earth. It has become impossible to imagine a President Paul defeating radical Islam and it's time for the rest of us to say it."
Republican hawks have reemerged as foreign policy has taken center stage in the early stages of the Republican presidential primary. The issue has come to the forefront as lawmakers in Washington grapple with the emergence of ISIS, President Obama’s negotiations with Iran over its nuclear threat, and the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance programs.
Paul’s foreign policy views are met with deep skepticism and even outright hostility from many Republicans, who believe it should be a deal breaker in his quest for the White House. In recent weeks, his fight with mainstream Republicans on these issues has spilled out into the open.
The Kentucky Republican has been hitting the talk show circuit to draw attention to his 10-hour filibuster of the Patriot Act, which is set to expire at the end of the month.
Republicans in Congress are split on whether the law should be reauthorized, but many GOP contenders have emerged as full-throated supporters of some forms of NSA spying that is allowed under the law.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who will launch his bid for president on Monday at least in part as a protest to Paul’s foreign policy, was seen rolling his eyes at Paul on the Senate floor during the filibuster.
And New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) accused Paul on Wednesday of siding with “criminal” leaker Edward Snowden, the former contractor who revealed the NSA program in 2013 and has since been living in exile.
- This story was updated at 2:50 p.m.