Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul suggested that his colleague South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham is a “danger” for suggesting that Congress sign onto an authorization to use military force against North Korea should the US fail to reach a diplomatic agreement during the summit.
“Lindsey Graham is a danger to the country by even proposing ideas like authorizing war with Korea,” Paul told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in an interview Monday.
“That should be something that is seen as naive and seen as something that really serious people shouldn’t even really be discussing,” he said.
Paul, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which has jurisdiction over the issue, added that he would “absolutely not” vote in favor of an authorization to use military force.
Asked to elaborate on his comments about his GOP colleague, Paul said, “If you have watched over time, I think what you have seen from Lindsey Graham is basically a naive worldview where he believes that war is always the answer. “
Graham said Sunday during an interview on ABC News’ “This Week,” “If diplomacy fails, as a last resort, Democrats and Republicans need to put the military option on the table or we’ll never get a good deal.”
The South Carolina Republican responded to Paul’s comments Monday in a statement to CNN.
“When it comes to fighting radical Islam and bad actors, Senator Paul is constantly AWOL,” Graham said, adding, “There is no threat to America that Senator Paul will not retreat from.”
Graham said history has shown that “weakness breeds aggression.”
“Senator Paul’s approach to protecting America in foreign policy is one step behind leading from behind,” he said.
“If diplomacy fails, then the only option to stop the threat that North Korean presents to America and the world is the force of arms,” he continued, adding that allowing North Korea to develop the ability to hit the United States with a nuclear weapon “is an unacceptable risk.”
“The only way North Korea will give up their nuclear program is if they believe military option is real,” Graham said.
Paul and Graham’s comments come hours before President Donald Trump is scheduled to hold a historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore, Tuesday morning local time.
CNN’s Maegan Vazquez contributed to this report.