Rand Paul Calls to Vote Out Republicans Who Don’t Block Trump’s Saudi Arms Deal
Republican Senator Rand Paul delivered a call on voters to take action from the Senate floor Thursday, ahead of a vote to block President Donald Trump’s Saudi Arms deal.
“This is a big deal and a big it is my hope the American people will watch how people vote and decide, is this who I want representing me?” said Paul. “Do I want someone representing me to someone who is selling arms to people who hate our country? Do I want to have people representing me who continue to flood the Middle East with arms?”
The Senate has since passed the first of three resolutions packages against Saudi Arms sales with a vote 53-45, but Trump has pledged to veto the legislation. The resolutions would then need 67 votes to override the veto. Most Republicans voted against the block.
“I’m a big fan of the president on many fronts, but on this, someone has to stand up, even a member of his own — we should not sell arms to countries who hate us,” said Paul.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not agree with Paul. He said the question is “whether we’ll lash out at an imperfect partner and undercut our own efforts to build cooperation, check Iran, and achieve other important goals, or whether we’ll keep our imperfect partners close and use our influence,” according to the New York Times.
In 2017, President Trump signed a letter of intent with the Saudi king in which Saudi Arabia would purchase $350 billion worth of arms from the United States over the next 10 years. Thursday, the Senate will vote on a resolution to block the deal.
Paul argued that simply because Saudi Arabia is the lesser of two evils between that country and Iran is not enough of a reason to sell them U.S. weapons.
“So we don’t sell weapons to Russia, we don’t sell weapons to China because we have disagreements and we don’t think it would be in our best interest to sell them weapons,” said Paul, suggesting that the U.S. should treat Saudi Arabia similarly.
He said the U.S. should be wary of Saudi claims to “be different” now, as in to no longer fund radical jihadism. “They’ve spent $100 billion infecting the world with the ideas of hatred of the west, hatred of Christians, hatred of Jews, and hatred of Hindus. They are used to be a couple of these schools in Pakistan, there is now 20,000 schools in Pakistan.”
Saudi Arabia already spends eight times more on arms than Iran, Paul pointed out. “They have enough arms to blow up the Middle East ten times over. Is there no stopping? Is there no limitation to what we will do? Do we not believe that any of our arm sales should be conditioned on behavior.”
He condemned the U.S. giving Saudi Arabia nuclear technology. “Now the nuclear technology they say is only for energy, but you’ve got to wonder, a country that sits atop one of the largest oil reserves in the world is now saying, oh, we don’t have enough fossil fuel, we need nuclear power.”
” What do you think happens if Saudi Arabia gets nuclear technology and there is a rumor of them developing towards nuclear weapons? What will Iran do? Automatically they will do the same thing.”
Paul said that the U.S. has consistently supported both sides of warring groups in the Middle East. “Maybe we need to take a break from the arms race in the Middle East.”
“Maybe when we’ve gotten involved we’ve had the unintended consequences of making it worse. People have this idea that you topple a dictator and somehow the next person they elect is going to be Thomas Jefferson. Every time we toppled a dictator, the people they elect, it’s not Thomas Jefferson.”
[Photo via Drew Angerer/Getty Images]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]