Sen. Rand Paul and Rep. Liz Cheney are engaged in a tense war of words over the US presence in Afghanistan, with Paul, a Kentucky Republican, accusing Cheney of wanting to engage in “endless wars” and the Wyoming Republican calling Paul a “big loser” for his failed 2016 presidential campaign.
On Wednesday, Paul tweeted a news article about Cheney’s criticism of President Donald Trump’s opposition to the war in Afghanistan, questioning why “some (neo-conservatives) continue to advocate for endless wars?” He added that we should “focus on America First, not Afghanistan.”
In response, the Wyoming Republican said in a tweet that she “stand(s) with (Trump) and our men and women in uniform who will never surrender to terrorists, unlike @RandPaul, who seems to have forgotten that today is 9/11.”
A day later, the two were still going head-to-head, with Paul casting Cheney and her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, as “Never Trumpers” during an interview with CNN’s Brianna Keilar on “CNN Right Now.” Paul said the two “hate President Trump’s foreign policy (and) they want to stay in Afghanistan forever,” and cited the former vice president’s tense conversation about Trump’s foreign policy with Vice President Mike Pence earlier this year.
The spat between the two prominent Republican lawmakers comes as Washington continues to reel over the sudden ousting of John Bolton, Trump’s third national security adviser who often clashed with the President over foreign policy matters. Bolton, who also served under former President George W. Bush, was widely viewed as a hawkish member of Trump’s Cabinet, and the feud between the two members of Congress is reflective of the contrasting opinions on foreign policy within the GOP.
In his CNN interview, Paul claimed the two Cheneys “love” Bolton.
The two continued to feud on Twitter Thursday in a series of ad-hominem attacks after the senator suggested that Cheney “might just be mad still about when Candidate Trump shredded your Dad’s failed foreign policy and endless wars” during a 2016 Republican primary debate.
“Weird. I don’t see you on stage here, @RandPaul. Oh, right. My bad - you had already lost,” Cheney replied, referring to Paul’s unsuccessful presidential bid three years ago.
Bolton’s departure comes as Trump is discussing a drawdown of forces in Afghanistan, and he recently scrapped plans to host the Taliban at Camp David for peace talks, which Bolton opposed. A senior administration official told CNN that Trump had been getting irritated with Bolton for his statements on Afghanistan, as well as other foreign policy areas.