Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) emerges from a closed-door weekly policy meeting with Senate Republicans, at the U.S. Capitol, May 10, 2016, in Washington, D.C.
Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty

Rand Paul accidentally speaks his mind about investigating Trump

About a month ago, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) was reminded that he seemed to be applying easier standards for Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees than previous presidents’ nominees. The Republican Oklahoman didn’t make much of an effort to deny the allegation.

“So it’s different now because it’s Trump?” a reporter the Huffington Post asked. “That’s just right,” Inhofe replied.

It was an interesting moment because of the GOP senator’s unexpected candor. Politicians routinely apply different standards to their allies, but they generally don’t admit it, preferring instead to claim to be fair and even-handed. Inhofe simply abandoned the pretense.

Yesterday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) did something similar, explaining why he’s inclined to ignore the Russia scandal surrounding the Republican White House.
Paul said that Republicans will “never even get started” with major policy changes like repealing Obamacare if they are focused on investigating their colleagues.

“I just don’t think it’s useful to be doing investigation after investigation, particularly of your own party. We’ll never even get started with doing the things we need to do, like repealing Obamacare, if we’re spending our whole time having Republicans investigate Republicans. I think it makes no sense,” Paul said.
It’s a great example of what some call a Michael Kinsley Moment: a politician making a mistake by accidentally telling the truth.

The Kentucky Republican is supposed to have some kind of half-way credible excuse for ignoring potentially illegal behavior from senior White House officials, but instead Rand Paul simply spoke his mind: Trump is a Republican, Congress is run by Republicans, so GOP officials should simply get to work taking Americans’ health care benefits away and stop worrying about our system of checks and balances.

It’s not uncommon for politicians to put party above country. It’s amazing, however, when a politician publicly endorses such a posture – brazenly, and without shame – as if it were perfectly normal.

The Atlantic’s Adam Serwer added that senators “swear to defend the Constitution, not their own political parties.” It’s a genuine shame that some on Capitol Hill need to be reminded of this.