Rand Paul spokesman: Lindsey Graham doesn't speak for us
© Greg Nash

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSaudi mystery drives wedge between Trump, GOP Noisy democracy, or rude people behaving like children? Lawmakers, Wall Street shrug off Trump's escalating Fed attacks MORE's office hit back at fellow GOP Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSaudi mystery drives wedge between Trump, GOP Suspects in journalist's disappearance linked to Saudi crown prince: report Overnight Defense: Trump worries Saudi Arabia treated as 'guilty until proven innocent' | McConnell opens door to sanctions | Joint Chiefs chair to meet Saudi counterpart | Mattis says Trump backs him '100 percent' MORE (S.C.) on Tuesday after Graham said the Kentucky Republican wouldn't support an ObamaCare replacement bill.

"While we do have a press assistant opening in the Communications Department, Senator Graham has not applied and should not make public statements on behalf of Senator Rand Paul," said Sergio Gor, a spokesman for Paul.

The pushback came after Graham asserted in speaking with reporters that Paul was "irrevocably gone" and wouldn't support the Senate GOP effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

“[Rand's] not going to vote for any bill that has refundable tax credits to help low-income people buy healthcare,” Graham said.

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Paul is one of the most conservative members in the Senate GOP and has pushed for a "full repeal" of ObamaCare.

The Kentucky Republican questioned in a Rare op-ed on Tuesday if the GOP plan is "ObamaCare-Lite," noting that it wants to keep "over ninety percent of the Obamacare subsidies" including helping individuals buy health insurance.

But Paul's spokesman added that the senator is "keeping an open mind" on the Senate healthcare legislation and "remains optimistic the bill can be improved in the days ahead."

If Paul voted against the Senate's legislation, which is still being ironed out, Republicans could only lose one additional senator and still get the 50 votes they need to allow Vice President Pence to break a tie.

No Democrats are expected to support the bill.

The rhetorical back-and-forth comes as a growing number of GOP senators are increasingly pessimistic that they will be able to pass healthcare legislation, even though Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGraham: I hope Dems 'get their ass kicked' for conduct around Kavanaugh Saudi mystery drives wedge between Trump, GOP Overnight Defense: Trump worries Saudi Arabia treated as 'guilty until proven innocent' | McConnell opens door to sanctions | Joint Chiefs chair to meet Saudi counterpart | Mattis says Trump backs him '100 percent' MORE (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday they would be able to move something in the "near future."

Graham separately told reporters on Tuesday that the healthcare bill is "more likely to fail than not."

Tuesday isn't the first time Graham and Paul have exchanged rhetorical barbs. The two are frequently on opposite sides of certain issues, particularly on foreign policy and national security.

After Paul threatened to filibuster former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani or former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton if they were nominated for secretary of State, Graham knocked the libertarian-leaning senator, saying, "You could put the number of Republicans who will follow Rand Paul’s advice on national security in a very small car."

When Graham criticized Paul's stance on surveillance, where he frequently aligns with Democrats, the Kentucky Republican told Reason magazine that some of Graham's comments don't "rise beyond middle school kind of rhetoric."