Paul hits hawks on downing of Russian warplane
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Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGOP lays debate trap for 2020 Democrats Overnight Defense: Trump says he doesn't need exit strategy with Iran | McConnell open to vote on Iran war authorization | Senate panel advances bill to restrict emergency arms sales Senate panel advances bill to restrict emergency arms sales MORE (R-Ky.), who is running of president, took a veiled swipe Tuesday at defense hawks, saying that the downing of a Russian warplane by Turkey is a reason to engage more with Moscow, not less.

"The shooting down of a Russian fighter jet illustrates precisely why we need open lines of communication with Russia and should resist calls from some Presidential candidates to isolate ourselves from discussions with our adversaries," Paul said in a statement.

Earlier Tuesday, Turkey said that it shot down a Russian warplane that entered its airspace.


It isn't the first time that Paul has separated himself from the more hawkish Republicans seeking the party's presidential nomination.

He took a direct shot at Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioGOP lays debate trap for 2020 Democrats Mellman: Are primary debates different? Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids — Trump issues order to bring transparency to health care prices | Fight over billions in ObamaCare payments heads to Supreme Court MORE last month, saying the country is "really lucky" the Florida Republican wasn't president during the Cold War.

"I mean, Reagan avoided a Cold War by, one, not setting red lines like that, continuing to have open communication with the Russians, having a strong enough defense to repel attack and to worry the Russians. But we did not try to get involved with an altercation with them," Paul said at the time.

The senator also doubled down on his opposition to a no-fly zone over Syria, an idea that has support from lawmakers in both parties, including Rubio.

He said that supporters of a no-fly zone "need to realize that shooting down other countries' fighter jets will be the result and a war between nuclear superpowers a possibility."

Rubio, separately, said last month that he believed the United States would be able to enforce a no-fly zone over Syria and that "the Russians would not test that."