WASHINGTON — Kentucky Senator Rand Paul on Wednesday struck back against an op-ed written by Sen.-elect Mitt Romney in which the former GOP candidate said President Trump had “not risen to the mantle” of the presidency.
“This is bad for the Republican Party and really bad for an ability to work together in the Senate to get things done, when you take the time to attack someone’s character,” Paul said, comparing Romney to other “Never Trumpers” in the GOP. “It’s virtue signaling. They say: ‘Look at how terrible the character of the president is.’ And by doing so they are building themselves up.”
“I think it’s gonna backfire on him,” Paul said during an interview Wednesday with Fox News’ Neil Cavuto. “When you attack someone’s character like that, I think that’s such a low blow and so personally directed and so malevolent … He’s now called [Trump’s] character ‘dishonest.'”
Paul said that although he too had “harsh criticisms” of Trump while debating him during the 2016 presidential primaries, he’s since tried to avoid “personal characterization assassination.”
“I have still voted against the president,” he said. “Yet I choose not to go after and try to drum up a personal attack on him, which I think is just not useful.”
Essentially referring to Romney as a warmonger, Paul said Romney is “petrified” that Trump may be successful in ending war during his term in office.
“I’m absolutely all-in with the president on this. If he can end a war, he’ll be a hero that all the Independents will look at as well as some Democrats for finally being a president who ended war.”
Despite the near constant criticisms of Trump by fellow Republicans Jeff Flake of Arizona and Bob Corker of Tennessee, Paul said he thinks Romney may have “misjudged” the GOP’s “thirst for blood” when calling out Trump’s personal shortcomings.
“I just don’t think it serves any usefulness for Republican senators to be out there attacking the character of the president,” Paul said. “How the president presents himself is up to him, but I don’t think it does anyone any good to be running around saying: ‘I’m holier than thou, look at me.’”