Rand Paul: Let's trade 5 Democrats, not 5 Taliban
June 6th, 2014
07:31 PM ET
3 months ago

Rand Paul: Let's trade 5 Democrats, not 5 Taliban

(CNN) – Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky got some laughs Friday with a line inspired by the Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl release, but the political opposition found his remarks out of line.

“Mr. President, you love to trade people. Why don’t we set up a trade. But this time, instead of five Taliban, how ‘bout five Democrats,” Paul said to cheers at the Texas GOP convention in Fort Worth.

“I’m thinking John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi. Couldn't we send them to Mexico?”

He was referring to U.S. Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, who says he accidentally crossed the border from California more than two months ago with several guns in his car - firearms he says he legally owns, but are unlawful to bring into Mexico. Following Bergdahl's exchange, some lawmakers have renewed their calls for Tahmooressi's return.

Paul's remarks come as the potential presidential candidate tries to broaden his appeal to not only a wider swath of the Republican Party, but also to some Democrats.

He told a local radio station in Kentucky last month that people are looking for a candidate who carries “the best parts of what Republicans stand for and also some of the good things the Democrats stand for."

"A lot of people who aren’t that partisan one way or the other say a good mix of ideas from both parties might be what we’re looking for," he continued.

Michael Czin, press secretary for the Democratic National Committee, argued Paul's remarks are "completely out of line."

“Comments like this are just the latest example of the GOP politicizing important national security matters to feed to their base," he said in a statement. "Try for a little more civility going forward."

Earlier this week, Paul came out strongly against the Bergdahl trade, saying on Fox News he's not sure it would be a good deal, even "if we were trading for a Medal of Honor winner, much less trading for somebody who may well have been a deserter."

Paul said he would only entertain the idea of a prisoner swap if there was an end to the war in Afghanistan.

Asked what he would do if the released Guantanamo detainees get back on the battlefield and plot to kill Americans, Paul said, "there would be a drone with their name on it."

His comments Friday are the latest of seemingly stepped-up efforts to build his national security profile, an area of policy in which GOP donors have expressed skepticism about Paul, given his libertarian leanings.


Filed under: Afghanistan • Rand Paul • Texas
soundoff (116 Responses)
  1. Marie MD

    Meant to say wouldn't take back NOT would.

    June 7, 2014 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  2. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Dopey Rand Paul, like his father, can forget about it. Now that they have been CRUSHED by Turtle McConnell, can't wait to see Thom Tillis,Sheldon Adelson,Rupert Mourdoch,Karl Rove,Grover Norquist and the GOP stuff Jeb Bush down the tea party's throats EXACTLY like they stuffed Romney down.

    June 7, 2014 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  3. Dar

    How about we trade 5 politicians???? Pick any of them, they are all the same. Lie, Lie, Lie.

    June 7, 2014 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  4. Michael MN

    So in the GOP world if you can leave a american in the enemys hands to score political points it is all right

    I say we send Paul over to the taliban and leave him there

    June 7, 2014 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  5. A V Garde

    Great idea, Senator Paul, but why stop at 5?

    June 7, 2014 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  6. Dennis Freeman

    Presidential or moronic? Maybe just asinine.

    June 7, 2014 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  7. alex

    Just another example of how the party of stupid is also hopelessly uncivilized.

    June 7, 2014 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  8. just me

    Wow, he really needs to start stealing material from funnier people.

    June 7, 2014 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  9. alex

    Step up his "national security profile," Really? Because given his comment that he is willing to send American citizens who don't agree with him to the enemy, I'd say he needs a lot of work in that area.

    June 7, 2014 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  10. smith

    Why Obama didn`t consult congress on the deal is beyond stupid. Now, anything that happends with the five he released fall on him and him alone. As far as Bergdahl goes, anybody with a brain can tell they are already seeting up a mental disorder defense for Bergdahl. More than likely Bergdahl will get a medical discharge. This wouldn`t be the first time the goverment lied about a soliders actions for political gain(i.e. Tillman and Lynch). However, in both those cases the truth came out from the people who were actually there, as were seeing now with the soliders who were there when Bergdahl strolled off into the sunset.

    June 7, 2014 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  11. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    We'd love to trade 5 GOPers, you being one.

    June 7, 2014 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  12. pbcalif

    Just catering to his base in Kentucky....

    June 7, 2014 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  13. Anonymous

    “Mr. President, you love to trade people. Why don’t we set up a trade. But this time, instead of five Taliban, how ‘bout five Democrats,”

    Great presidential material showing us why we have become so politically divided. The good news in Paul speaking out in such a manner? He's taken all serious debate off the table. It's been nothing more than a joke to the GOP (and not the serious "they're gonna come back and get us in our sleep" debate the GOP has been pushing at the expense of a 28 year old man held in captivity for 5 years.

    June 7, 2014 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  14. Lizzie

    Big deal, democrats and liberals want to trade republicans for a long time.

    June 7, 2014 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  15. PaulG

    Heck I'll throw in five bucks to help make it happen.

    June 7, 2014 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  16. aaron

    How about we trade Rand his father and the cheering Repubs who think they are the only Americans for one sane person?

    June 7, 2014 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  17. Gurgyl

    Let us send Rand, Mitch,j john, Lindsey,Derril Issa to Afghanisan instead of those five. Good idea. Nation evil goes away thus. These are good for nothing bums, obstructionists. Jobs-Bill please.

    June 7, 2014 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  18. Gurgyl

    Let us send Rand, Mitch,j john, Lindsey,Derril Issa to Afghanisan instead of those five. Good idea. Nation evil goes away thus. These are good for nothing bums, obstructionists. Jobs-Bill please.

    June 7, 2014 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  19. Atomik1

    Look who is talking about Taliban. One can draw numerous parallels between Afghanistan Taliban and today
    American GOP and Tea Party people: ignorant, unti science, ideological, militaristic, unti women, hypocritical and the list can go on and on...

    June 7, 2014 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  20. Bill from GA

    Rand Paul – " people are looking for a candidate who carries “the best parts of what Republicans stand for and also some of the good things the Democrats stand for." "

    I like that idea. But how is R.Paul supposed to fit in that mix? He represents the worst of what Republicans stand for.

    Rand Paul, along with most of the 2012 Repub Prez wannabees, are some of the most offensive people in politics. That he would make a statement about trading Dems, and then think he might appeal to Dems, shows how out of touch he is. Maybe he thought his comment would only be heard by republicans. Is that STUPID or what??

    June 7, 2014 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  21. Mike in Texas

    @ Marie MD,

    San Antonio isn't as bad either. We have had mostly Democratic Mayors since I moved here in 1994 and even one of the two Republicans (Howard Peak) wasn't bad. Also, Bexar County (pronounced Bear) voted for Obama in both elections. In addition my district has been represented by Henry B Gonzalez, his son Charlie and now Joaquin Castro, Julian Castro's twin. The worst parts of Texas are rural areas and suburbs Houston and Dallas Fort Worth. West Texas and East Texas are the most Red in the State.

    June 7, 2014 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  22. Mike in Texas

    @smith. Maybe he should have only consulted the Democrats in Congress. The Republicans have made it an effort to pretty much oppose what he does. Thank the Tea Party and their wealthy backers who will primary any current Republican who as much hints at agreeing with the President. This thinking cost Repubicans Senate seats in Nevada, Delaware, Colorado, Missouri, and Indiana. I might be missing another state. If you look at those states 2 are purple, one is blue and the other two are pink. None of them are solid red states. The Tea Party might work in Texas but it doesn't fly in swing or blue states.

    Here's a riddle. When does a Republican start disliking an idea they've always liked? When President Obama starts liking it.

    June 7, 2014 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  23. Bill from GA

    smith – " the truth came out from the people who were actually there "

    In a trial, both sides are heard. Like the 'Swiftboating' of John Kerry, righties only hear the rightie propaganda side.

    June 7, 2014 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  24. rla

    AW poor little vuberable democrats- GUESS WHAT that's how most people fel about the three deems mentioned and the quicker the better

    June 7, 2014 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  25. John in Brooklyn

    Paul claims to be a Libertarian YET simply ignores the fact that the detainees at Guantanamo have never been accused of specific terror activities, have never been formally charged with anything, have never been tried or convicted of anything, have been denied access to lawyers, and have been denied visits from family members. Undeniably they all hate America but holding people, not charging them, not declaring them POW's is simply NOT American.
    Paul likes to claim that he defends civil liberties but, not unlike the rest of the Libertarians in America these days, he's only interested in protecting the liberties of people like himself – wealthy, white, male, elitists.

    June 7, 2014 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
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