WASHINGTON— Senator Rand Paul says he advised President Donald Trump over the weekend that the time to stop arming Saudi interests is long overdue.
“I told him that we need to cut off arms to Saudi Arabia,”Paul told Fox News’s Neil Cavuto on Tuesday.”For over a year now, I have been trying to get Congress to stop sending more arms to Saudi Arabia”.
“It’s important to remember that Saudi Arabia is the largest state sponsor of radical Islam,” the Kentucky Republican continued. “They fund tens of thousands of madrassas around the world, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Philippines, all teaching hatred of America. They have been doing this for decades. They are not our friends.”
Paul’s urging of Trump comes in the wake of this week’s news of an apparent murder of a Saudi writer at the Saudi consulate in Turkey.
Paul said the journalist’s murder only represents more proof “that we need not be arming them.”
In their conversation, Paul says the president claimed that cutting off $110 billion in U.S. arms sales to the Saudis may result in Saudi officials turning to Russia or China to supply them.
An argument to which Paul says he completely disagrees.
“It’s been reported that their air force can’t go a couple months without spare parts. Their air force is entirely U.S. planes. They are dependent on us for parts, mechanics. They are entirely dependent on us. They can’t last months without our help.”
“We tell them absolutely we are not going to do business with a government that chops up journalists, puts them in little bags, and then escorts them out of an embassy and dumps them somewhere,” Paul countered.
“This is not civilized behavior. And what they’re doing around the world — hatred of America is not civilized. We have been turning a blind eye to Saudi Arabia for decades. They are the worst actor out there promoting terrorism.”
Paul then went on to note that Trump himself has referred to the war in Iraq as a “big mistake”.
“He has been very consistent and strong on that,” said Paul. “The war in Yemen is exactly the same way. It’s going to lead to chaos, and it will lead to be another festering ground for terrorism.”
Is he insistent on the matter when it comes to his dealings with Trump? Yes, says Paul. And unapologetically so.
“I do bug the president. When I talk to the president, what I talk to him about is, let’s get the hell out of Afghanistan ” adding that he feels the same way about getting the U.S. out of Yemen.