In response to the uproar over President Trump’s press conference with Vladimir Putin, Kentucky’s Rand Paul said the problem was “Trump derangement syndrome.” He had previously published an op-ed praising Trump for meeting with Putin, in which he announced he would travel to Russia in the next few weeks to seek to improve relations further between the two nations.
On CNN, Paul said this about the response to the press conference:
All countries are doing this, but we’ve elevated this to a higher degree, and we’ve made this all about the sour grapes of Hillary Clinton losing the election, and it’s all about partisan politics now. This is truly the Trump derangement syndrome that motivates all of this.
Paul has regularly decried the Mueller investigation as a “witch hunt,” and has often stated that he believe the intelligence agencies have too much power and need to be “reined in.”
Paul had earlier published a piece in Politico where he supported Trump meeting with Putin, saying that it was necessary to discuss areas of common interest. He also announced that he would be making his own trip to Russia:
Politicizing international affairs is a dangerous game, but that hasn’t stopped far too many in Washington, who seem to have forgotten that a vital part of keeping America safe and secure is avoiding war through strong and consistent diplomacy, from playing politics. One way they do that is to insist we not meet with or speak openly to our adversaries on the world stage.
I disagree. Dialogue is especially important when hundreds of millions of lives are at stake, as is the case in relations between the United States and nuclear-armed Russia. So I applaud Trump for both chiding our NATO allies and greeting its expansion with skepticism, and I applaud him for sitting down with Putin. We should be doing more of such self-examination and dialogue.
His op-ed concludes with:
In just a few weeks, I will take my own trip to Russia in an attempt to discuss common ground with their leaders and help prevent further, unnecessary escalation of tensions. We will discuss trade, cultural exchanges and how to better work for peace and prosperity in the world. I look forward to consulting with Trump between his visit and mine and to working with diplomats from both countries to have a successful trip and better relationships. Millions of lives could be at stake.