The battle of words between Sen. Rand Paul and Gov. Chris Christie continues as the Kentucky senator took a swipe at Christie for using "the cloak of 9/11 victims" to justify national defense spending.
Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky speaks at a fundraiser for state Sen. Jack Johnson in Franklin, Tenn., on Sunday, July 28, 2013. Paul defended his opposition to federal domestic surveillance programs, and said that his Republican critics’ position alienates young people from the GOP. (AP Photo/Erik Schelzig)
Sen. Rand Paul took another swipe at Gov. Chris Christie on Fox News Monday night when he accused the New Jersey governor of being a selfish and out-of-touch leader.
“It’s really, I think, kind of sad and cheap the he would use the cloak of 9/11 victims and say, ‘I’m the only one who cares about these victims.’ Hogwash,” Paul said.
The back-and-forth jabs between the two high-profile Republicans began at a summit of GOP governors last week at the Aspen Institute. There, Christie criticized the “strain of libertarianism” that had taken hold of the Republican Party, accusing leaders such as Paul of engaging in “esoteric, intellectual debates” with little progress.
But Paul is hitting back, turning the tables on the governor instead. “If he cared about protecting this country, maybe he wouldn’t be in this ‘give me, give me, give me all the money that you have in Washington,’ or don’t have, and he’d be a little more fiscally responsive and know the way we defend our country, the way we have enough money for national defense is by being frugal, and not by saying, ‘Give me, give me, give me’ all the time,” Paul continued.
Paul has previously been vocal in his opposition to disaster relief, including toward areas such as New Jersey affected by Superstorm Sandy last October.
The exchange mirrors much of the narrative surrounding a “civil war” between the GOP establishment and Tea Party extremists—a battle Paul is now using against Christie.
“He may have heard that the Republican Party is on life support in the Northeast,” Paul said. “Republicans are in danger of becoming an endangered species. It’s not smart for Republicans to be attacking Republicans,” Paul said.
Both Paul and Christie are considered strong contenders for the 2016 presidential nomination, and could potentially bring the GOP infighting back into the national spotlight after the contentious 2012 Republican primary that dominated the news cycle for the heavy bickering between candidates.
But the war of words between the two is showing little sign of slowing down: On Monday, Paul voted against the confirmation of James Comey to head the FBI because of his concerns about the use of drones in the U.S. Christie weighed in on Tuesday, tweeting, “Congratulations to my friend Jim Comey. The FBI and America will be well served by his strong and honest leadership.”