New York Rep. Peter King harshly criticized Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and other fellow Republicans Sunday for failing to stand by America's anti-terrorist policies, saying that he worried they would ultimately destroy the Republican Party.
Appearing on CNN's State of the Union, King said that his overriding concern is national defense, and that “when you have Rand Paul actually comparing [fugitive leaker Edward] Snowden to Martin Luther King or Henry David Thoreau, this is madness.”
“This is the anti-war, left-wing Democrats of the 1960s that nominated George McGovern and destroyed their party for almost 20 years,” King said. “I don’t want that happening to our party.”
King lashed out at his fellow Republicans during a discussion over a failed House effort last week to cut off the National Security Agency's sweeping surveillance of Americans' phone and email records, a program exposed by Snowden. That attempt quash the NSA program was led by Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich.
“I thought that it was absolutely disgraceful that so many Republicans voted to defund the NSA program, which has done so much to protect our country,” King said. “This is an isolationist streak that’s in our party. It goes totally against the party of Eisenhower and Reagan, Bush. I mean, we are a party of national defense.”
King suggested that “we’re going to find that out over the next three years” whether Republicans sharing Paul’s views on national security would define the party. King, who represents a Long Island district, announced earlier in July that he is considering running for the Republican nomination for the presidency in 2016.
That would likely put the outspoken GOP hawk and former chairman of the Homeland Security Committee on a collision course with Paul, who is also thought to be weighing a presidential campaign.