August 4th, 2014
07:31 PM ET
7 years ago

Rand Paul argues that he never proposed ending foreign aid to Israel

Omaha, Nebraska (CNN) – Sen. Rand Paul denied Monday that he had ever proposed legislation that would halt U.S. foreign aid to Israel, despite previously calling for an end to foreign aid for all countries.

“I haven’t really proposed that in the past,” the Kentucky Republican told reporters when asked if he still stood by his call to stop all foreign aid, given the unrest in Israel and Gaza.

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Growing combative, Paul stressed that he’s “never had a legislative proposal to do that.”

“You can mistake my position, but then I’ll answer the question. That has not been a position – a legislative position – we have never introduced to phase out or get rid of Israel’s aid,” he continued. “That’s the answer to that question.”

His comments came at a campaign stop in Omaha for Nebraska Senate GOP nominee Ben Sasse, the first trip on a nine-city leg that will take Paul across Iowa in a three-day swing. As he prepares for a potential presidential run and faces scrutiny from other Republicans over his libertarian-leanings on foreign policy, Paul has been trying to aggressively assert his support for Israel.

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On Monday, he emphasized that he voted last week to send $225 million to the country for its missile defense system, known as the Iron Dome.

In 2011, however, Paul tried to get a vote on an amendment that would end foreign aid to Mideast countries, including Israel.

In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer at the time, he pointedly said he would favor a halt to U.S. aid to Israel.

“I don't think funding both sides of the arm race, particularly when we have to borrow the money from China to send it to someone else,” he said. “We just can't do it anymore. The debt is all consuming and it threatens our wellbeing as a country.”

He made the same argument in an interview with ABC’s Jonathan Karl, saying he would leave no “foreign aid intact.”

He later said, during a 2013 trip to Israel, that he would favor a more “gradual” approach to ending aid for Israel, compared to other countries.

Democrats were quick to seize on the comments. Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and National Jewish Democratic Council Executive Director Rabbi Jack Moline released a statement condemning his comments Monday.

“Paul can claim that he wants to be a friend of Israel, but the consequences of his actions would threaten the security of Israel and its ability to defend itself,” they said.

Filed under: 2016 • Israel • Nebraska • Rand Paul
soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. Tampa Tim

    Rand denies his positions more than the failed Mittens. Maybe Rand should stick to "the trees are the right height" or "Jeep is leaving Ohio." Bottom line, Republicans are unfit to govern.

    August 4, 2014 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  2. ThinkAgain: If you don't like Congress, get rid of the repub/tea bag majority

    Until Rant can point to one single instance in the history of humanity where his policies resulted in sustainable, broad-based prosperity and a civil society, he should just stick a sock in it.

    August 4, 2014 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  3. Thomas

    Both Rand Paul and Rick Perry have so much in common , they both love Israel more then Mexico , They both talk with there hands when they explain the size of a watermelon , and both eat corn dogs from the Hawkeye state with ketchup .

    When will they walk the talk and be friends ?

    August 4, 2014 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  4. g

    I think Isreal can stand on its own ,its in better shape then the usa -health care and education is way above America wonder why

    August 4, 2014 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  5. rs

    Flip-Flop, Flip-Flop, Flip-Flop. He hasn't even declared yet, and he is having to repair/alter/re-arrange his past positions and statements. Poor blighter doesn't stand a chance.

    August 4, 2014 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  6. HenryMiller

    "Rand Paul argues that he never proposed ending foreign aid to Israel."

    Why not? Israel needs to grow up and take care of itself.

    August 4, 2014 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  7. Michael

    This is how he lacks his old man's courage. Hey Rand Stop being a party guy and stand up for what you believe. Plenty of Americans oppose all foreign aid. All means all.

    August 4, 2014 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  8. stormchaser 101

    A tiger can't change his stripes.Rand paul is a libertarian posing as a teabagger/rethuglikkkan believe nothing he says he has no chance at national office.

    August 4, 2014 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  9. Raven

    No, he didn't flip-flop. It is ok to support Israel now after they got attacked by Hamas. It is not ok to send our tax dollars to other countries when we are broke. I'm a democrat but I like Paul more and more.

    August 4, 2014 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  10. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid the repub/tea bag majority.

    January 2013: U.S. Sen. Rand Paul on Monday called for a gradual reduction of American foreign aid, delivering the message in an unlikely venue – since Israel is among the top recipients of American assistance.

    Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, told reporters that the U.S. can't afford to keep borrowing money and then handing it out to others, even to allies like Israel.

    "It will harder to be a friend of Israel if we are out of money. It will be harder to defend Israel if we destroy our country in the process," he told the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies, an Israeli think tank. "I think there will be significant repercussions to running massive deficits ... you destroy your currency by spending money you don't have."

    Paul, a longtime opponent of foreign aid, acknowledged he was expressing a "minority opinion" and doubted Congress would end foreign aid in his lifetime. "It's unlikely anything changes, but I think it is worth discussing," he said during his first trip to Israel.

    Sounds like he called for cutting aid to Israel to me ...

    August 4, 2014 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  11. MaryM

    Rand already blew his chance at the Presidency . Google Rands buddy the southern avenger .

    August 4, 2014 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  12. Jeff

    Oh Rand, please be a bit more like your father and not flip flop. You have the chance to make this country great again, like your father tried to do. The fact you want to stop sending our hard earned tax dollars to foreign countries, and yes even Insrael is one of the reasons you were admired for wanting to keep the money here.

    August 4, 2014 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  13. smith1

    not unusual position for a repo. Flip flop flip flop. Is he Mitts guy?

    August 4, 2014 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  14. S. B. Stein

    Has anyone found the statements or votes that show he is against helping Israel or is for cutting their funding? Once that is found, then you can ask him as long it is done in context. Out of context doesn't make it understandable.

    August 4, 2014 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  15. Chris..E.Al

    @ Tampa t your into reproductive rights and all you make a good advacate so here.s the one finger to the solution that i lift to help .

    August 4, 2014 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  16. Chris..E.Al

    @ Tampa t your into reproductive rights and all you make a good advacate so here.s the one finger to the solution that i lift to help you she ant dumb .

    August 4, 2014 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  17. J.V.hodgson

    Yet another politician caught out in a lie.
    Boehner we wont shut down the government then did, also we wont impeach the president oh but yes he will if The president does absolutely anything on immigration.
    That's why the deal they passed was framed as it was and that behind closed doors an undertaking was given to the tea trolls to get their votes ... look at how it was finally framed.

    August 5, 2014 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  18. tomdavie

    I cant believe Rand Paul honestly thinks he is going to be President of the United States.

    August 5, 2014 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  19. Coley

    Aqua Buddha developing a case of spinelessness? If you argue for eliminating foreign aid[a position I support], why wouldn't you include Israel as well? So why is Paul quaking in his penny loafers?

    August 5, 2014 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  20. Bill from GA

    You can mistake my position (based on WHAT I say), but then I’ll answer the question (DENYING what I said). That has not been a position (those TAPES are lying!) – a legislative position (Oh, let's try to sound HONORABLE) – we have never introduced (wtf??) to phase out or get rid of Israel’s aid,”

    Yeah, that's the guy we want for Prez. Yeah, sure. Putin be shakin in his boots.

    Rand Paul's greatest accomplishment: He makes 'ol Hill look good.

    August 5, 2014 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  21. Mr. Balls

    Of course not, tailor the speech to the audience and the times.

    August 5, 2014 02:27 am at 2:27 am |
  22. Name

    aahhh the pondering coming from the right, is enough to make you puke. first of all the real israelite doesn't like the Christian Reich too much, secondly a small majority of israelites votes dem. so much for pondering.

    August 5, 2014 04:59 am at 4:59 am |

    We have another"'etch a sketch" Guns Over People teatard running. Hillary will drink to that!

    August 5, 2014 06:10 am at 6:10 am |
  24. Marie MD

    Anybody have video of him saying it? There's got to be something somewhere.
    This guy is pandering to the youth of this country except that, except for McCain and his minions, nobody wants the US to go to war again.
    He's a first class liar and is just trying to obtain votes. He is not even a real doctor and has plagiarized work.

    August 5, 2014 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  25. J Anthony

    Israel has broken international law and has ignored cease-fires over and over again. They have willingly slaughtered women and children. They get away with it because they have the U.S.' backing. That's why i have to laugh when an idiot commenter like Rick McDaniel calls Obama "anti-Semitic", when it's clear he is not. Just because you find Netanyahu an obnoxious war-monger does not make you anti-semitic. Yes, Israel must defend itself, but right now they are the aggressors and Hamas has no chance of beatig Israel militarily. This is about more than "defending themselves", always has been.

    August 5, 2014 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
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