EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – Senator Rand Paul joined Eyewitness News Daybreak for an interview less than one week before the Impeachment Trial of former President Donald Trump. Anchor Jake Boswell also spoke to the Senator about COVID stimulus plans being discussed by both Republicans and Democrats.
Senator Paul shared his thoughts on what he thinks would work best for the economy, the need to lower the amount of violence seen in politics, and his intent to run for reelection in 2022.
Below is a full transcription of the conversation between Jake and Senator Paul:
Jake: Senator, President Biden has now proposed a $1.9 Trillion COVID relief plan along with Democrats. It was just a couple days ago, a group of Republican Senators including Indiana Senator Todd Young met with him to discuss a plan for not even a third of that around $600 billion. No matter which version of this this passes, Congress wants to pass a third stimulus bill, and with the deficit already exceeding $3 trillion, where is this money coming from and who’s going to have to pay it back?
Sen. Paul: You know, we don’t really have any kind of savings account up here, no rainy day fund. So when they talk about giving people $2 Trillion, it has to be either borrowed or printed up and created. So I’m not really thinking that it’s good for our country or for our currency, if we just put up more money. We did $3 Trillion last year. And I think the choice should be really open the economy or print up more money and create more debt. So I’m in favor of opening the economy, I think we need to lift the restrictions. The fact that our state legislature voted recently, to strip this enormous economic dictatorial power from our Governor and let our economy open, I think is a good sign. Unemployment actually in Kentucky. Well, we have problems in pockets like restaurants and hotels, mainly from the Governor’s orders. Our economy overall, the unemployment is actually better than it was throughout most of the Obama administration. So I think we need to put this in perspective. And we need to realize that certain indices are hurting. And the way to get restaurants to quit hurting is to get rid of the Governor’s mandates keeping them closed.
Jake: Senator, you led a procedural vote last week declaring the upcoming impeachment trial of former President Trump unconstitutional. So what do you expect out of this trial, obviously, that didn’t pass. So what do you expect with this trial happening next week now?
Sen. Paul: What we found out last week was 45 Republicans believe that this is an illegitimate trial, that it is unconstitutional. And I think that indicates that 45 Senators at least will vote to acquit, which means the impeachment is basically dead on arrival. I think we have to be very careful about trying to impeach people for political speech. I didn’t agree with trying to decertify the electors. I voted against the President’s position. I think it was misguided. I didn’t agree with him saying that the Vice President could overturn the election. And yet those are our opinions. And to impeach somebody for opinions, I think is a really bad precedent. If you look at the President’s speech, he said, “go fight to let your voices be heard”. That doesn’t really sound to me particularly like exhorting people to violence. He also said march peacefully and patriotically. There’s also arguments that say people were planning this on Facebook well before, weeks before the President’s speech, some of the pipe bombs that were supposedly set were set the night before the President gave the speech. There’s also evidence while the President was speaking, there was already violence being committed at the Capitol. So I’m not sure that there’s a real connection between his speech and the violence. And I think people need to be judged on the same standard. So we have many prominent democrats who I think have encouraged violence. Kamala Harris has encouraged bailing out violent protesters, some have committed three more crimes since they were bailed out. One protester in Minneapolis that Kamala Harris advocated bailing out ended up cracking someone’s skull once they got out. So you could argue that her wanting to bail out these violent protesters encourage them to commit violence again, but I think nobody would think impeaching her over that was appropriate. So I think we really have to have the same standard, whether people were Republicans or Democrats.
Jake: Senator Paul, the President did not concede the election before that day, January 6, do you think if he were to concede the election, that any of those events that took place that day would have happened?
Sen. Paul: I don’t think anybody knows. I do think that when you argue a political point, though, you argue that there was fraudulent votes or that the election integrity was in question. I don’t think you can be forbidden from making those arguments because some people will take your argument and commit craziness or mayhem. I think within large crowds, you attract mentally ill. So I think if you have 10,000 20,000 people show up for something there always be some mentally ill people who become part of that. And I think some of the people actually committing to this violence and all these people attracted to these crazy conspiracies are in fact mentally ill. But I don’t know if we’re going to blame politicians for speeches. I think we’ll end up looking like the third world, you know, in countries like Guatemala, every other president they put in jail Mexico the same way is that really what we want is to criminalize political behavior and have ex-presidents put into jail. So I’m against this I would be against this if there was this was a Democrat president as well. In fact all the democrats that I think have committed intemperate speech that may have encouraged violence, I’m not calling for impeaching any of them. I mean, Bernie Sanders was saying that the Republican plan for health care was you die, you get sick and then you die. That you know may well have been which set off the shooter that almost killed Steve Scalise. So the ball field I was there, you know, the shooter spraying hundreds of bullets at us and four or five people shot and one almost killed. I think that the speech of Democrats was intemperate, inflammatory, and may have encouraged this shooter who was saying this is for healthcare, but I don’t think we should say it’s Bernie Sanders fault. In fact, I never did. The reason I bring it up now, though, is I think they have a double standard. They’re willing to try to, you know, convict President Trump on one standard, but they’re sort of ignoring all the times that their rhetoric has incited violence.
Jake: I want to talk about what happened in June of 2017. You were there like you said in the middle of that, a terrible day, another day, three years later, January 6, when you were at the Capitol, and just a few years, you’ve been in the middle of these, these violent, almost political events to an extent because they are pointed, politically driven. When you look at some of the the motivations behind why some of these people may have done this, do you think that there needs to be some type of de-escalation in our country, whether you’re Democrat, Republican, no matter who you are, when it comes to political violence?
Sen. Paul: Absolutely, I was also attacked from behind by a political opponent had six ribs broken, had my lung permanently damaged part of my lung removed, almost died from an infection after that. And yet every day on Twitter, you’ll see people, including the teacher of the year over in Virginia, advocating for more violence to me and saying that what happened to me with my ribs and lungs being crushed should happen to Senator McConnell, we have Nancy Pelosi, her own daughter,
saying that it was a good thing that I was attacked. So I think that people do need to de-escalate. But I think that people need to be judged. On both sides of the aisle, we
hear about all the right wing people who are advocating violence. And yet the a lot of the national media has basically looked the other way. Literally, hundreds of people every day think that it was a great idea that I was attacked, and that I should be attacked again, or that other people should be attacked. And so yeah, it’s repulsive and repugnant. But you know, we don’t hear any condemnation from the left. They think it’s Jolly good that I was attacked, and think maybe I should be attacked again.
Jake: Let’s move on to the the constitutional amendment a joint resolution that you yourself have signed on to that would limit members of the Senate to two terms. In 2022, you’ll finish both of your terms in office, it’s a chance for you to run for re-election. Do you plan to run again in 2022?
Sen. Paul: I do. And I’m still for term limits and would adhere to term limits if everybody did, but it’d be kind of silly for Kentucky to limit their own Senators, and while nobody else was limited, so I do favor term limits and have advocated for the constitutional amendment. And as long as it were fair, and every state only has sent their Senator for two terms. I think it’d be a good idea.
(This story was originally published on February 3, 2021)