Ad accuses Rand Paul of supporting terrorists, not Kentuckians

Ad accuses Rand Paul of supporting terrorists, not Kentuckians
© Greg Nash

A television spot targeting Kentucky Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulFive things to watch in two Ohio special election primaries Up next in the culture wars: Adding women to the draft The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators MORE (R) accuses the libertarian-leaning senator of supporting civil rights for accused terrorists over Americans' safety.

Politico reports that a 30-second ad from the little-known conservative group American Exceptionalism Institute hits Paul over his refusal to support Gina Haspel, President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden administration to keep Trump-era rule of turning away migrants during pandemic On The Money: Biden, Pelosi struggle with end of eviction ban | Trump attorney says he will fight release of tax returns Lack of transatlantic cooperation on trade threatens global climate change goals MORE's nominee to lead the CIA.

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Paul has refused to support Haspel over her role in the CIA's “enhanced interrogation” program, which many have called torture.

“Haspel did exactly what her country asked of her and what was necessary to keep us safe,” a narrator says in the ad, while flashing images show a picture of top al Qaeda lieutenant Abu Zubaydah. "Call Rand Paul, remind him he’s in Washington to represent us, not him."

The ad will run on Fox News stations around the state for 10 days, Brian Kinnett, a spokesman for the group, told Politico. Kinnett, whose group's webpage lists no information about it or its policy positions, says the ad is meant to pressure Paul into reversing his intended vote on Haspel as he did for Trump's pick to lead the State Department, Mike PompeoMike PompeoNoem to travel to South Carolina for early voting event Poll: Trump leads 2024 GOP primary trailed by Pence, DeSantis Pence v. Biden on China: Competing but consistent visions MORE, the news outlet noted.

“Sen. Rand Paul has offered Gina Haspel no apology for his malicious and false attacks on her sterling record of service in the war on terror,” Kinnett said.

"We call on Paul to support Haspel’s nomination and remind him to represent Kentucky’s interests in Congress, not the interests of al Qaeda terrorists who launched a war against our country and then cried foul over treatment when they got caught by heroes like Haspel,” he added.

A statement from Paul's office called the ads "ill-conceived" and "false," and attacked the group's "hidden donors."

"Senator Paul remains committed to his principles and every day continues commitment to represent the people of Kentucky," the statement reads.

"These ads are ill-conceived, false, and are being run by a front group with hidden donors. Senator Paul stands by his opposition to a flawed nominee who was complicit in torture and coverup."

--This report was updated at 12:28 p.m.