2016 Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul made some very strong statements about ISIS and the responsibility some GOP members have in its creation.
Speaking on MSNBC's “Morning Joe” with host Joe Scarborough, Paul said:
Right now there are 1,500 groups, many of them bad people, including ISIS, that hawks in our party have been arming. ISIS exists and grew stronger because of the hawks in our party, who gave arms indiscriminately, and most of those arms were snatched up by ISIS.
They created these people.
The same hawks in my party, they loved Hillary Clinton's war in Libya. They just wanted more of it. Everything they have talked about in foreign policy they have been wrong about for 20 years, and yet somehow they have the gall to keep saying, and pointing fingers.
Governors Bobby Jindal (R-LA) and Scott Walker (R-WI), both likely presidential candidates, strongly disagreed.
In an interview with Neil Cavuto on Fox News, Walker said this:
I just respectfully disagree with Senator Paul and I believe the reason we're facing troubles, in not only that region but around the world, is because of the lack of American leadership.
After Cavuto affirmed that Paul's statement was “pretty severe to say that ISIS exists because of GOP power,” Walker added:
“I just think he's wrong on that. I think unfortunately... You know, I respect Senator Paul on a lot of other issues. I'm a big fan of him on limiting the size and scope of the Federal government. I think there's a lot of good things about him, but I think he's just wrong on this one. It's one of those where, Republican or Democrat alike, if somebody saying something wrong I'm not going to criticize them personally but I do think there's a tendency out there for certain candidates to go after people on a personality basis. I think we should talk about the facts.”
Bobby Jindal posted a statement about Paul's comments on the Louisiana Governor homepage:
This is a perfect example of why Senator Paul is unsuited to be Commander-In-Chief. We have men and women in the military who are in the field trying to fight ISIS right now, and Senator Paul is taking the weakest, most liberal Democrat position.
It's one thing for Senator Paul to take an outlandish position as a Senator at Washington cocktail parties, but being Commander-in-Chief is an entirely different job. We should all be clear that evil and Radical Islam are at fault for the rise of ISIS, and people like President Obama and Hillary Clinton exacerbate it.
American weakness, not American strength, emboldens our enemies. Senator Paul's illogical argument clouds a situation that should provide pure moral clarity. Islam has a problem. ISIS is its current manifestation. And the next President's job is to have the discipline and strength to wipe ISIS off the face of the earth. It has become impossible to imagine a President Paul defeating radical Islam and it's time for the rest of us to say it.
A senior staffer on Paul's campaign responded to Governor Jindal's comments with this:
It’s ironic Gov. Jindal would level such a charge when he flip-flops on crucial issues like Common Core and national security, and he has cratered his own state’s economy and budget. Just last week, Gov. Jindal spoke out in support of Sen. Paul and announced he now opposes the NSA’s illegal and unnecessary domestic bulk data collection, after previously cheerleading for it.
As we have seen for the past few weeks, Senator Paul is the only Republican running it seems who is willing to learn from our mistakes in the Middle East in order to keep us safer and stronger. The American people are looking for a candidate who can express a coherent viewpoint, something Gov. Jindal and many other candidates have been unable to do thus far.
At this point, neither Jindal nor Walker have officially announced their candidacy, though it is widely expected that both of them will. According to RealClearPolitics polling, Walker has a healthy lead over Paul and Jindal.