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 PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulHouse Republicans call for moving State of the Union to Senate chamber GOP rep: 'Rand Paul is giving the president bad advice' on Afghanistan and Syria Rand Paul suggests holding State of the Union in Senate MORE (R-Ky.) is urging President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump directed Cohen to lie to Congress about plans to build Trump Tower in Moscow during 2016 campaign: report DC train system losing 0k per day during government shutdown Senate Republicans eye rules change to speed Trump nominees MORE 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 Trump, 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 Antonio RubioSenate Republicans eye rules change to speed Trump nominees Overnight Defense: Trump unveils new missile defense plan | Dems express alarm | Shutdown hits Day 27 | Trump cancels Pelosi foreign trip | Senators offer bill to prevent NATO withdrawal Bipartisan senators reintroduce bill to prevent Trump from withdrawing from NATO 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.”