Trump Goes After Rand Paul and Misses the Mark by a Mile

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

Maybe we need a “good Trump, bad Trump” theme remix because this latest statement by the former president is definitively the latter. And it’s not because of any shallow concerns about decorum, but because of the content itself. For some reason, Trump decided it’d be a good idea, in the midst of half a dozen major issues that need addressing (including an unconstitutional order from Biden), to instead set his sites on…Rand Paul?

Apparently, he thinks an apology is owed from Paul for not endorsing the same candidate in an Ohio special election primary. That led to this release which includes several shots at the Kentucky senator.

Look, I don’t typically mind when Trump goes after people, including some Republicans, and you aren’t going to find me clutching my pearls over whether this is “presidential” or not. I find the guy to be a mix of intentional and unintentional hilarity most of the time. But there are two major problems with this.

To start, if Trump wants to run in 2024 (and I’m not sure he actually does) and/or be a force for good in 2022, he has to take some interest in the issues that people actually care about. Why hasn’t Trump released a statement condemning the infrastructure bill? Or the extension of the eviction moratorium by Joe Biden in defiance of the Supreme Court? I understand his administration originally supported a moratorium as well, but there are ways to nuance that argument. Heck, why does he seem to rarely mention Joe Biden in general? He’s got time to release a statement on the women’s soccer team losing at the Olympics this morning but not property rights being destroyed?

Further, and perhaps more importantly, Rand Paul has done more to fight back against COVID hysteria, including Dr. Fauci and the anti-science lockdowns and mandates pushed by the establishment, than any other Republican figure, including Trump. And to be frank, it’s not even close when you consider that Trump could have fired Fauci at any time. Given that, yeah, I’m a little defensive of Paul because he’s a guy who has put his neck on the line when Trump and others wouldn’t on what is the biggest issue of the last two years.

If Trump wants to go after Mitt Romney, have at it. If he wants to make fun of Liz Cheney, have a ball. Heck, clown on Mitch McConnell for all I care. But these petty shots at Rand Paul are stupid, counterproductive, and unearned. Trump should be praising Paul for what he’s done to fight back against COVID-based tyranny, not obsessing over a primary endorsement. Let’s also remember that Tump’s endorsed candidate lost in Texas last week (and I defended him against those saying it meant something profound about his influence waning) so perhaps some self-awareness would be in order.

As I wrote yesterday, you have Ron DeSantis out there destroying Joe Biden for trying to run a biomedical police state and the best Trump can come up with is sniping at good Republicans?

To end, I’ll preemptively answer the obvious retorts: No, I do not think Trump is just joking here. His skin is famously thin and Paul’s endorsement obviously tweaked him. Lastly, yes, I’d vote for Trump in 2024 if he were the nominee so no need to worry there.

In the meantime, I’m going to still be honest about what I see and hear. Rand Paul has earned my lasting respect for how he’s taken the lead against COVID hysterics. If that means defending him against Trump or anyone else, then so be it.