Sen. Rand Paul, a long-time critic of Rep. Liz Cheney, joined the conservative pile-on of the Wyoming Republican, saying on Wednesday: “I don’t think she’s good for the country” and accused her of trying to “sabotage” President Donald Trump’s foreign policy.
Paul, a libertarian-minded Republican, has long sparred with Cheney, who supports hawkish views on national security. And asked about House conservatives lashing out at Cheney behind closed doors, Paul joined in on the criticism in an interview with CNN.
“I mean she tries to sabotage everything he tries to do in foreign policy, so I don’t know whether she’s a good advocate for the President or not,” Paul said when asked if he thinks she should remain as a congressional co-captain for the Trump campaign’s finance committee.
Cheney has broken with Trump over pulling US troops from Germany and Afghanistan, warning in June for instance of “a serious error” with “grave consequences” if US troops were to be pulled out of Germany.
“I think one of the good things about President Trump is he’s tried to end the war in Afghanistan after 20 years,” Paul said. “Liz Cheney was one of the main obstacles to ending the war.”
Paul added: “I’m not a big fan of the perpetual war caucus. And these are the neoconservatives in our party that really try to prevent us from trying to disengage from a war.”
Amid the criticism, Cheney has defended her alliance with Trump, telling CNN on Tuesday that she and her House GOP colleagues are “all unified in terms of recognizing the dangers the country would face if Joe Biden were elected President.” Speaking on “Fox and Friends” Wednesday morning, a show Trump frequently watches, Cheney stressed that she votes with Trump roughly “97%” of the time.
“There are areas that tend to be on national security where we don’t always agree,” Cheney said of Trump, adding: “Far more of the time we agree than disagree.”
Paul, too, has broken with the President on both foreign policy and domestic issues, including on Trump’s handling of Iran and sending federal troops to Portland, Oregon. And on Tuesday, Paul criticized the White House and Senate Republicans for pushing another $1 trillion of more stimulus and “ruining the country.”
The exchange came after at least seven House conservatives lambasted her at a closed-door meeting on Tuesday, including Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, Chip Roy of Texas, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, and Ralph Norman of South Carolina, according to sources in the room.
Gaetz and Massie complained about Cheney supporting a primary challenge to Massie, sources said, while Jordan listed areas where Cheney has broken with the President. Roy, facing a tough reelection, hit Cheney for supporting Dr. Anthony Fauci and complained that his Democratic opponent has retweeted some of Cheney’s tweets.
In recent weeks, Cheney has been more forceful than Trump in pushing for masks, has pushed back on the notion that the federal government could force states to reopen their economies and has been critical of Trump’s baseless conspiracy theories of a cable TV host.
On Wednesday, Paul faulted Cheney for backing the primary opponent of Massie, a libertarian-minded Republican who easily won his primary last month.
“I was really disappointed that she came into our state and opposed Thomas Massie, sitting congressman,” Paul said.
During the meeting Tuesday, Cheney pushed back at her handling of the Massie primary, telling her colleagues that their problem over Massie was with Trump, not with her. She was referencing a March tweet from Trump, when the President excoriated the Kentucky Republican for forcing much of the House to return to session to vote on the $2.2 trillion stimulus law that was steaming through Congress amidst the pandemic.
Trump in March called Massie a “third-rate grandstander” and said the GOP should “throw out” Massie from the party.
CNN’s Haley Byrd and Cat Gloria contributed to this report.