Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky blasted Donald Trump's two reported top choices for secretary of state, saying that former UN Ambassador John Bolton and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani are "totally unfit" for the position and go against the President-elect's campaign promises to avoid an aggressive approach in the Middle East.
Paul, who ran against Trump for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Nov. 15 that it would be a "stiff, uphill climb" to win his support for a pro-Iraq war secretary of state with ties to foreign governments, according to Business Insider:
"The thing Donald Trump said over and over again was that he was opposed to the Iraq War, and he learned that lesson that regime change in the Middle East was not a good idea. And yet I don't see Giuliani coming out with statements like that. I certainly don't see John Bolton — I think both of them have been big cheerleaders for the Iraq War and for more intervention in the Middle East, so I hope Donald Trump will pick somebody consistent with what he said on the campaign trail: The Iraq War was a mistake. Regime change in the Middle East was a mistake."
Paul called both of the rumored leading contenders "very similar" to each other and said that he would not support a "bomb-thrower" like Bolton unless he "repudiated his support for the Iraq War and repudiated his support for regime change throughout the Middle East, repudiated his call for immediately bombing Iran."
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Paul recommended former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Bob Corker, and President of the Council on Foreign Relations Richard Haass as acceptable alternatives to the pair.
"John Bolton is totally unfit to be secretary of state, and I hope that the Trump administration will say, 'You know what, he does not represent what Donald Trump represents,'" Paul added.
In an op-ed for Rare, released the same day, Paul praised Trump for his stance on foreign policy and his opposition to the regime changes implemented by George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton but pointed out that Bolton's views align closely with the previous administrations and not with Trump's campaign promises.
"President-elect Donald Trump campaigned on changing our disastrous foreign policy," Paul wrote. "To appoint John Bolton would be a major first step toward breaking that promise."