Sen. Rand Paul pushed back against the Obama administration all of last week, telling the president he needs to seek Congressional approval before acting militarily in Syria.
On Sunday morning’s “Meet the Press,” Paul said he thinks the House is split 50/50 right now, and accused the Senate of letting Obama get whatever he wants.
“SENATOR RAND PAUL: …But absolutely if Congress votes this down, we should not be involved in the Syrian war. And I think it’s at least 50/50 whether the House will vote down involvement in the Syrian war.
DAVID GREGORY: You think it’s 50/50, it’s that close? You don’t think that this is a compelling case that’s been made and that Congress will follow suit?
SENATOR RAND PAUL: In the House. I think the Senate will rubber stamp what he wants. But I think the House will be a much closer vote. And there are a lot of questions we have to ask.”
Paul’s assertion came during an interview with David Gregory on Sept. 1’s “Meet the Press.” The entire interview covered the situation in Syria and weighed the pros, cons, and politics, of U.S. involvement in the country’s conflict.
Paul appeared immediately after Secretary of State John Kerry, who spent the opening segment defending a potential retaliatory strike as a way to “enforce the norm,” as intelligence says the Assad government used chemical weapons.
Gregory gave Paul a chance to respond immediately, and Paul was clear:
“DAVID GREGORY: So you heard the Secretary of State break news this morning that the evidence, the intelligence suggests now this was a sarin gas attack at the hands of the Assad government. The Secretary saying, as he just did, the case is building and will continue to build. Is that enough for you to now vote to authorize the president to use force?
SENATOR RAND PAUL: No. And I think it’s a mistake to get involved in the Syrian civil war. And what I would ask John Kerry is, he’s famous for saying, ‘How can you ask a man to be the last one to die for a mistake?’ I would ask John Kerry, ‘How can you ask a man to be the first one to die from a mistake?’ I would ask John Kerry, ‘Do you think that it’s less likely or more likely that chemical weapons will be used again if we bomb Assad?’
I’ll ask him if it’s more likely or less likely that we’ll have more refugees in Jordan or that Israel might suffer attack. I think all of the bad things that you could imagine are all more likely if we get involved in the Syrian civil war.”
Paul later said he was “proud” of President Obama for sticking by his campaign’s stance to not act unilaterally, and coming to Congress in a “constitutional manner” for a discussion and vote. He also brought up the issue of Christians in Syria, making it clear once again that he does not want to see them get hurt or killed in a potential rising conflict.
“SENATOR RAND PAUL: I think the line in the sand should be that America gets involved when American interests are threatened. I don’t see American interests involved on either side of this Syrian war. I see Assad, who has protected Christians for a number of decades, and then I see the Islamic rebels on the other side who have been attacking Christians. I see Al Qaeda on one side, the side we would go into support, and I see it to be murky. And I don’t see a clear-cut American interest. I don’t see either party that is victorious, if either party is victorious, being an American ally.”
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