Not that Rand Paul was counting on his support, but it’s pretty clear that Sen. John McCain does not #StandWithRand.
McCain took several opportunities Sunday night to torch the Kentucky Republican and 2016 presidential hopeful.
Twice McCain, R-Ariz., objected to a unanimous consent request by Paul, of Kentucky to speak; he blamed Paul for delaying consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act and made it clear that he doesn’t support Paul for president.
“I’ve said on many occasions that I believe that he would be the worst candidate that we could put forward, not just on the PATRIOT Act but on his views on national security,” McCain, the 2008 Republican nominee, told reporters.
McCain said Paul’s procedural push to make three expiring provisions of the Patriot Act lapse didn’t actually reinforce McCain’s view on a Paul presidency, because he “didn’t need any reinforcement.”
At another time, McCain, who once included Paul in what he called a group of “wacko birds,” hinted he believed Paul’s efforts to get the Patriot Act provisions to expire were primarily motivated by presidential politics.
“I think he obviously has a higher priority for his fundraising and political ambitions than for the security of the nation,” McCain said.
Earlier in the evening, with some Paul supporters watching from the gallery, Paul and McCain had a particularly testy back-and-forth on the floor. McCain repeatedly accused Paul of not knowing Senate rules for when he is allowed to speak. At one point, McCain even objected — again, twice — to letting Paul talk for five minutes.
“If the Senator from Kentucky doesn’t know the rules of the Senate yet, I’d be glad to instruct him if he’d seek out my counsel,” McCain told reporters off the floor.
Following the procedural vote on the USA Freedom Act, a bill that would replace some of the provisions of the Patriot Act, McCain, who chairs the Armed Services Committee, said he was “upset” that the dragged out process had delayed consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act.
“The world is on fire, and we’re taking up precious days doing this,” McCain said.