Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Tuesday accused President Barack Obama of leading his administration down a road of secrecy and "corruption," while still attempting to convince the public that transparency is a key value to the White House.
Speaking to Sean Hannity of Fox News, Paul said that recent scandals, including Tuesday's report that some of Obama's political appointees were using secret government email accounts to conduct official business, had left him "disappointed" more than anything.
"I've been kind of disappointed, because honestly there were certain aspects of President Obama that I wanted to like," Paul said. "I wanted to see a president who was truly liberal, who I couldn't have voted for, but I wanted to see a good liberal who would defend the First Amendment who would defend transparency, who wouldn't be targeting the press or targeting political enemies, so really defending the First Amendment, defending the Fourth Amendment. And now we have this whole culture of corruption where we've got these secret email accounts."
The White House has tried to downplay the significance of the alternate email addresses, claiming they're still subject to congressional oversight and freedom of information requests. But the AP reported having significant trouble tracking down non-public addresses.
Paul went on to say that he was similarly concerned with the administration's approach to investigating reporters who cover national security. He then connected it to other civil liberties issues, including his opposition to indefinite detention.
Hannity played a clip of Obama on his first day in office in 2009, vowing to usher in a new era of openness and accountability. It sounded nice, Paul said, but in light of the administration's handling of recent controversy, he argued it was clear it hadn't turned out that way.
"I think what's happening is these constellation of scandals, one after another ... I guess he's losing, and to me he's losing that moral authority to lead the nation," Paul said. "And even though he sounds so great and I wanna believe in what he says, he's losing that believability to the American public."