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 PaulTrump-backed Hagerty wins Tennessee GOP Senate primary Senators introduce bill to block Trump armed drone sale measure The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump's visit to battleground Ohio overshadowed by coronavirus 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 John TrumpDeWine tests negative for coronavirus a second time Several GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Beirut aftermath poses test for US aid to frustrating ally MORE's nominee to lead the CIA.


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 PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoBeirut aftermath poses test for US aid to frustrating ally Advocacy groups come out against Trump pick for ambassador to Germany US pledges million in disaster aid to Lebanon 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.