The gloves are officially off in the long-simmering feud between Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Rand Paul (R-KY). A day after McCain accused Paul of working directly for Russian President Vladimir Putin, Paul has fired back by questioning the octogenarian senator’s mental stability.
On Wednesday, McCain took the Senate floor to chastise Paul for objecting to a procedural motion to advance a bill pertaining to Montenegro’s bid to join NATO.
“If there is objection, you are achieving the objectives of Vladimir Putin. … I have no idea why anyone would object to this, except that I will say, if they object, they are now carrying out the desires and ambitions of Vladimir Putin, and I do not say that lightly,” McCain said. When Paul objected, McCain scolded in part: “[T]he senator from Kentucky is now working for Vladimir Putin.”
On Thursday, Paul used an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to settle the score with McCain.
“You know, I think he makes a really, really strong case for term limits,” Paul quipped. “I think maybe he’s past his prime; I think maybe he’s gotten a little bit unhinged.”
Paul went on to argue that expanding NATO when the U.S. is suffering under the burden of a $20 trillion debt is a questionable move. He also blasted McCain’s foreign policy as “something that would greatly endanger the United States [and] greatly overextend us,” citing a Mother Jones article that rated countries based on how many “angry McCains” they received.
The people of Montenegro might not even want to be part of NATO, Paul argued, since they have the option to maintain neutrality and continue trading with both blocs.
“So there’s a lot of considerations, but to call someone somehow an enemy of the state or a traitor might be considered by most reasonable people to be a little over the top,” Paul concluded.