Paul on Monday called Trump "an empty suit" and "a bully" in a conference call with reporters aimed at seizing on the growing outrage against the front-runner in the GOP presidential primary. "If no one stands up to a bully, a bully is going to keep doing what they're doing," Paul said. "Unless someone points out that the emperor has no clothes, they'll continue to strut about and what we'll end up with is a reality TV star as nominee, if we're not careful."
[It's] something of a bold play for Rand Paul to try and play up conservative doubts about another candidate, given that he's making his own ideologically heterodox pitch to Republican base voters and trying to convince them that he's conservative enough to merit their approval. [...] The idea animating Rand Paul’s presidential run is that he is, in his own words, “a different kind of Republican.” These differences show up in various policy positions he’s taken that conservatives won’t readily approve: cutting off foreign aid to Israel, slashing the military budget, marijuana decriminalization, and restricting government surveillance programs. He’s further complicated this already fraught dynamic by abandoning or discreetly modifying positions he’s taken in the past, insisting all the while that he’s never once changed his mind. Who is the real Rand Paul when it comes to defense spending? Is it the Rand Paul who once wanted to slash the military budget to cut overall spending, or the Rand Paul who proposed additional military spending offset by cuts to domestic programs? What would President Rand Paul do on immigration policy? That’s a difficult question to answer, given that in the five-plus years he’s been a U.S. senator, Paul has taken just about every position on immigration reform, from hardline opposition to any sort of “amnesty” to support for a path to citizenship. He is in many ways the political chameleon he accuses Trump of being.