Rand Paul: Let's trade 5 Democrats, not 5 Taliban
June 6th, 2014
07:31 PM ET
4 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. Name Uche Agonsi

    Which Congress would have deliberated the release of Bergdahl..... This do nothing Congress? Sorry some Americans still think any good man still lives in "Sodom" . With the type of controversy being raked up on his swap, any outcome of discussion by Congress on his swap, could cause the soldier take up the option of killing himself.

    June 7, 2014 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  2. brownbuttonglutton

    Turns out john Kerry wasn't swift boated. Everything was true. This burdahl guy is a traitor who renounced his us citizenship and deserted the base to seek out the taliban in order to join them. Rand is playing leftys when they cry in 2016 about the trading gaffe. Voters will be reminded of dems celabrating trading 5 terrorists for one traitor.

    June 7, 2014 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  3. Marie MD

    @Mike in Texas, thanks for the tip on San Antonio. We now have two cities we can go visit in Texas.

    June 7, 2014 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  4. smith

    @Marcus-To make the comparison with regards to the swiftboats to Bergdahl is complete nonsense. Kerry had fellow sailors to back him up that were there. Bergdahl has no soliders backing up his claim. Your use of the swiftboats in nothing but spin trying to cast a negative light on honorable soliders. As far as Syria goes, anybody fighting against Assad is a terrorist because Assad is their elected leader of the goverment and they are fighting a Jihad or holy war because thats what gives them their justifcation for their actions. What would you call a group of people fighting in battle our goverment? Uh, domestic terrorist.

    June 7, 2014 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  5. Name. willard

    Obams are stupaid that he will be careful his word thing. What about gimto prison
    I am best gimto are staying with prison for only terroist

    June 7, 2014 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  6. smith

    @rs-Its on Obama`s shoulders now and if one person gets killed by anyone of those five terrorist its on him.

    June 7, 2014 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  7. smith

    @Marcus-I should have said IF Bergdahl makes any claim besides going AWOL.

    June 7, 2014 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    "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."

    His libertarian leanings? This entire article proves otherwise, including the fact that he's stepped in it one too many times. May he become his own biggest downfall.

    June 7, 2014 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  9. Tampa Tim

    I really wish RWNJs would allow the military to deal with Bergdahl, and not have the trial and conviction predetermined by the likes of Sean Hannity, Michele Bachmann, Louie Gomert and the rest of the republican crazies who post here.

    June 7, 2014 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  10. Tampa Tim

    Name Willard – It appears that the experiment to replace high paid republican posters with outsourced cheaper posters with limited English is failing.

    June 7, 2014 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  11. don in albuquerque

    Hate to say anything positive about Cruz (but since he cannot run anyway), he is about three times smarter, and has infinitely more class than Aqua Buddha. And he does not wear a dead squirrel on his head.

    June 7, 2014 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  12. dubyasux

    I say trade five wingnuts instead. Paul, Cruz, Santorum, Mike Lee, and Bill O'Reilly all seem to love theocracy. I day we should send their butts to Afghanistan.

    June 7, 2014 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  13. Gurgyl

    -I staunchly doubt if any of these republican thugs even qualify to be cooks in the WH, let alone presidency.

    June 7, 2014 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  14. Dee

    Paul wants to be President with such stupid statements he forgot this is the age of technology and will come back to haunt him.

    I am so sick of these people if it were their son or daughter they would want the President to do the same for them. He did the right thing and if he had told members of Congress as much as they hate him, it would have been leaked because they don't want him to succeed in anything. The whole operation would have been compromised and the POW would have been killed and they would be telling a different story.

    GOD HELP THEM

    June 7, 2014 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  15. jo clo

    Rand Paul would also stand in Pontius Pilates courtyard and yell "give us Barabus Give us Barabus" TPubs are traitors, and unpatriotic.

    June 7, 2014 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  16. James Hall

    Let's trade Sarah Palin for Crimea.

    June 7, 2014 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  17. Thomas

    I would like to thank Rand Paul for his military service and bowling skills ,

    Only in America can such a punk be scout leader .

    June 8, 2014 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  18. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    Bergdahl left base like he had done in the past – he was AWOL, but did NOT desert.

    The gop/tea bags have become the party of insanity. Please all registered Dems and Independent: we MUST vote these yahoos out on November 4, 2014.

    June 8, 2014 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  19. Scott

    I will not vote for Rand Paul if he runs for President. He lacks executive experience and he has not accomplished anything of merit as a legislator. His political comments are often a disgrace. He will change his political positions if he thinks it will help him get elected. For example, see his comments on the Rand Paul is weak on national defense and he does not understand what our core national security interests are. Rand Paul is a deadbeat and voted for a selective default on the national debt. He got caught plagiarizing the political writings of others, so his personal behavior is rather questionable and he does not seem to be able to come up with his own original ideas.

    June 8, 2014 04:01 am at 4:01 am |
  20. Arglebargle

    That's right, Mr Paul. You would trade American lives, even if they are Democrats, to the Taliban, wouldn't you?
    And how long did you say you served in the military?
    You just love seeing those flag-draped caskets come off those airplanes, don't you?
    You're an embarrassment to anyone who values freedom.

    June 8, 2014 04:53 am at 4:53 am |
  21. HowieInBrissie

    Rand Paul is unfit to be president.

    June 8, 2014 05:03 am at 5:03 am |
  22. Tony in Maine

    Pandering to the eyeball spinners on the distant right, Randy? I truly hope they nominate you, only Cruz would be easier to destroy in a general election.

    June 8, 2014 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  23. Marie MD

    Was this quack at the same convention (ft worth) where the teaklans were speaking of converting gays to straight?
    This is the man who wants to run for president?
    You are judged by your friends and his are the lowest form of human beings.
    Between gay rights and his anti civil rights of the 60s he doesn't have a chance.
    The more he talks the more he digs his own hole.

    June 8, 2014 07:12 am at 7:12 am |
  24. Robert Drazich

    The war is over for the Taliban and you Rand Paul. I have an idea, how about you go back to where Bergdahl was being held captive. I doubt if you'd last more than one day. Comments like you make, I don't think I'd want to rescue anyone like you.

    June 8, 2014 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  25. Tony D

    1. Obama
    2. Harry Reid
    3. Nancy Pelosi
    4. Debbie Wasserman Schutlz
    5. Bill Deblasio

    And will even through in a bonus billionaire! Michael Bloomberg.

    Our nation might then have a chance at surviving and Bergdhal would definitely be heralded as a hero.

    June 8, 2014 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
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