Sen. Rand Paul questioned Monday how anyone involved with the tea party moving could support Donald Trump, saying the billionaire’s track record of supporting Democrats and liberal causes are at odds with the grassroots movement.
Mr. Trump has stolen some of Mr. Paul’s thunder since entering the 2016 GOP nomination race in June, quickly sprinting past the Kentucky Republican in the polls.
Mr. Paul took aim at Mr. Trump in the opening Republican debate last week in Ohio and on Monday warned grassroots activists against backing a “false” conservative.
“The Tea Party erupted over dissatisfaction with false conservatives. It amazes me that anyone in the Tea Party movement could possibly consider [Hillary] Clinton/ [Harry] Reid/ [Nancy] Pelosi supporter Donald Trump for President,” Mr. Paul said in an op-ed that appeared in The Independent Journal Review.
Mr. Paul tried to score points against Mr. Trump in Thursday’s debate, knocking him for refusing to pledge his support the eventual Republican nominee and to write off a third-party run.
He also criticized Mr. Trump’s previous support for a single-payer health care system.
“Are conservatives really willing to gamble about what Donald Trump really believes in?” Mr. Paul said in the op-ed Monday. “It is refreshing to hear someone speak truth to power, to transcend Washington-speak, and cut through the staidness of our politically correct world but not when it is all blather, non-sequitur, and self-aggrandizing bombast.”
The Paul campaign has struggled to regain some traction in recent weeks, after posting a disappointing second-quarter fundraising haul.
Mr. Paul also came under scrutiny last week after three staffers from his father’s 2012 presidential campaign were indicated on charges that they paid off an Iowa state senator to switch allegiance in the last presidential race.
One of the people charged in the indictment is Jesse Benton, who headed American’s Liberty Political Action Committee, a super PAC supporting Mr. Paul’s presidential bid.
Mr. Benton, who has since taken a leave of absence from the group, is married to Mr. Paul’s niece.
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