You can clearly put Senator Rand Paul in the “not a fan” category when it comes to the consideration of former Bush administration U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton as the next Secretary of State. Rumors have been circulating that Bolton is the top candidate to fill the post in the new Trump administration.
Rand Paul, who was just re-elected to a second term as Kentucky’s junior senator, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that the hawkish Bolton is “totally unfit” to be Secretary of State and that he would not vote to confirm him unless he “repudiated” his past support for the Iraq War, “regime change throughout the Middle East, and for “immediately bombing Iran.”
“I mean, really, you want to have a diplomat in charge of diplomacy — you don’t want a bomb thrower. And so, no, John Bolton is totally unfit to be Secretary of State and I hope that the Trump administration will say, ‘You know what he does not represent what Donald Trump represents, which is change, and which is the understanding the Iraq War was a mistake and that regime change in the Middle East has been a mistake.'”
About former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is the other name being floated about, Rand Paul said that he was “less clear,” but believed that Giuliani holds many of Bolton’s views on foreign policy.
“I’d say it’s a stiff uphill for me with Giuliani,” Paul said, noting that he would also have to convince him that he now believed that the Iraq War was a mistake.
Separately, Rand Paul said that the left’s hair on fire objection to former Breitbart News CEO Steve Bannon’s appointment to serve as President-elect Donald Trump’s was a complete over-reaction.
“I’ve met him, I don’t think he’s a caricature of any of these horrible things the left is bringing out about him,” Paul told Blitzer in the same CNN interview.
Paul’s criticism about Bolton, who has not yet been officially named, was not a criticism of President-elect Trump but is more of an observation that Bolton’s views on foreign policy aren’t well-matched with the positions that Donald Trump took during the campaign.
John Bolton served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from August 2005 until December 2006 as a recess appointee by President George W. Bush. He resigned in December 2006, when the recess appointment would have expired, rather than face the uncertain confirmation created by a newly elected Democrat Senate majority that was set to take control in January 2007. He is currently a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).