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Monday, October 24, 2016

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), who was a practicing ophthalmologist before joining Congress, is currently in Guatemala doing eye surgeries as part of a humanitarian mission. The trip is admirable, and Paul is certainly making better use of the congressional recess than most of his colleagues, who are busy campaigning and fundraising.

But it is also a blatantly political outing, as evidenced by Paul’s entourage, which includes political aide Doug Stafford, conservative ad makers Rex Eslass and Rick Tyler, and a film crew from the right-wing group Citizens United. The goal appears to be further rebranding of Paul as a new breed of Republican.

“[People] won’t see him attached to just the ideological or partisan policy debates that take place in Washington,” Republican political consultant Kevin Madden explained. “He can step out of that and let people see him through a different lens, that of a doctor helping people.”

Unfortunately for Paul, however, the trip has actually reinforced the opposite. Paul is not acting like a different type of politician; he’s confirming that he’s just like many of his most partisan Republican colleagues.

During an interview with Breitbart News, the right-wing outlet that tagged along on the trip, Senator Paul announced that he backs House Republicans’ legislation to confront the border crisis. The House passed two bills before leaving Washington; they would provide $694 million in additional funding to deal with the wave of immigrant children crossing the border, greatly expedite the deportation process for the Central American minors, and end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that provides temporary deportation relief for some young immigrants.

“I’m supportive of the House bill and I think it will go a long way to fixing the problem,” Paul told Breitbart.

Of course, it’s unclear how the House approach would actually solve the problem, given that it doesn’t allocate nearly enough resources to make a serious impact, and that deporting the “DREAMers” who benefit from DACA would do nothing to deter Central American children from trying to cross the border into the U.S. But in any case, Paul’s comments illustrate his true stance on immigration: He’s right in line with archconservatives like Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL), and Paul’s one-time lunch date, Rep. Steve King (R-IA).

That’s not the only way in which Paul revealed himself as the same old kind of Republican. He also took some time to meet Guatemalan president Otto Perez Molina — and actively undermine American foreign policy.

“I told him, frankly, that I didn’t think the problem was in Guatemala City but that the problem was in the White House in our country, and that the mess we’ve got at the border is frankly because of the White House’s policies,” told Breitbart.

So much for politics stopping at water’s edge.

This, too, is hardly unique for Republicans. During the Obama administration, criticizing the president while overseas has become startlingly standard practice within the GOP (Mitt Romney’s 2012 trip to Israel, or the Tea Party trip to Egypt last year come immediately to mind).

Paul insisted that he “didn’t intend this to be a political trip,” but his actions prove otherwise. Not only is he playing politics, but a particularly crass brand of it.

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

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  • Meredith Quill

    In August of 2007, an illegal alien was arrested in Huron, Ohio for molesting an 8 years old girl.

    • Grannysmovin

      That is terrible but just as all whites are not good, all blacks are not bad and all illegal aliens are not child molesters or criminals.

    • KDJ54

      I don’t understand your point, perhaps you could balance your statement by giving us the total of US citizens were arrested on the same day for doing the same activities. I’m sure you could find many if you wanted to look for them, perhaps even in the same city and surely within the entire state of Ohio.

  • Dominick Vila

    Rand Paul’s message is clear: I don’t have a problem with Central American people, who I am willing to help. I simply don’t support the entry of foreigners into the USA without the appropriate entry visa. By appealing to both sides of this issue, he is demonstrating the he may be a nut, but he is not dumb.

    • sigrid28

      He may not be dumb, but he counts on dumb voters.

  • Grannysmovin

    Is this Rand Paul’s apology tour? How does he explain being raised by a man who published under his name racist newsletters?

  • Grover Syck

    If Randy wants to do something of value, he can go back to Kentucky and help his constituents who cannot afford eye care.

    This is nothing but political grands standing,

    On the quote that said the problem is in the White House. The source was wrong. The problem is in congress. (the retarded tea bags and teh real republicans that don’t have a spine to stand up and tell the jerks to sit down and shut up.

    • ScotDog

      He’s not a licensed ophthalmologist. He can’t do operations in the US.

  • Theodora30

    Rand Paul is not a certified opthalmologist. He formed his own board to certify himself but that board is defunct so he can’t even be called “self-certified”. Why does the media overlook this frightening fact? At least this WaPo article mentions it in passing but it should be in the headlines.

    Imagine letting a guy with a phony certification operate on your eyes. People need to know this about Paul instead of being fed these feel good stories of him as a selfless do-gooder.

  • atc333

    Rand Paul, once again with his head in the sand, ignoring the issues in Central America driving the influx of young immigrants. Of course, if he wanted to slow this latest wave of immigration, perhaps aiding those nations in dealing with the crime and slave trafficking might be a good start, but then he would lose another talking point as he would be admitting that Obama is not the cause of increased flow of immigrants. Strange how the GOP claims Obama is soft on illegals, yet Obama has deported more illegals than any other President. Where was Paul when Bush II considered Illegal aliens to be a boon to this nations economy, aiding productivity, and simply looked the other way?

  • annienoel

    Gee too bad Randy isn’t concerned about the US Citizens who cannot afford eye surgery and have no access to it. Or any medical care for that matter. All well and good to travel to Guatemala to do surgery but he has done nothing to help our citizens. Hypocrisy your name is Republican.

  • Tony Torres

    Due to the fact that he is a self certified (Doctor?) is probably the reason he does not do these operations in the US. At least in Guatemala these poor people can’t sue you if you screw up. This way he looks good (his & entourage opinion) and gets to act like almighty savior of the poor, when inside he hates the poor. Just look at his voting record. What a hypocrite and lier this man is!!

  • ExRadioGuy15

    Allow me to cut through the b*llsh!t here:
    Rand Paul is a “Firebagger”, a Libertarian working within the Republican Party….
    The Firebaggers have five Tenets: Everyone For Themselves, Extreme Fiscal Conservatism, Radical Social Liberalism, Assumption of Risk and Delusions of Grandeur….
    The GOP are on board with all but one of those Tenets: radical social liberalism. That’s the reason that the GOP are largely silent on the “militarization of the police” subject while The Idiot Kid of MoRon Paul continues to practice his Firebaggery. After all, despite what the GOP Cons say, it was the Bush 43 administration, during the post 9/11 hysteria, that founded the program that allowed for police departments to get military weaponry to “fend off terrorist attacks”. But, that’s really only necessary in the big cities. Ferguson, Missouri and other small towns are at or near the bottom of the priority target list of terrorist organizations. Remember that Flight 93 was not intended to crash in Shanksville, Pa….it was headed for a much bigger and much more populous target.
    Don’t be fooled: Firebaggers are Republicans with bongs….

  • highpckts

    Makes no difference what he does in foreign countries. He is what he is and you can’t paint him differently! He is an oppurtunist pure and simple!!

  • David

    I think that Guatemalans would be leery of the US extreme right. It was under Reagan and Bush I , and under the direct supervision of Bush , ex director of the CIA , that the US was caught training the evangelical led Guatemalan army in the fine art of no holds torture to death of it’s citizens. And spying the other way during the assassinations ofCatholic priests and nuns. And as to the GOP ‘s popularity, as long as they have a message equally important to the super-rich and the least able to understand it they will remain viable. That is why education and ádult literacy programs are so important. It is why the GOP attacks education funds at every turn.

  • David

    I saw Guatemalan eyeballs on sale on EBay, I think, I hope that is not Rand. Paul up to his old tricks again.

  • Pamby50

    They should revoke his passport & not allow him back in the country.

  • bckrd1

    What about helping the millions of Americans who don’t get eye care?

    Never mind. Just read Theodora30.