POLITICS

Rand Paul: ISIS 'Exists And Grows Stronger' Because Of GOP Hawks

05/27/2015 01:08 pm ET | Updated May 28, 2015

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Wednesday blamed the rise of ISIS on hawkish members of the GOP who he said were too eager to intervene abroad.

Paul, who is running for president, has worked to push back against the characterization that he is an isolationist and weak on foreign policy. On Wednesday, Paul said that those who said his kind of foreign policy was responsible for the rise of ISIS were wrong.

"I would say it's exactly the opposite. ISIS exists and grew stronger because of the hawks in our party who gave arms indiscriminately. And most of those arms were snatched up by ISIS. These hawks also wanted to bomb [Syrian President Bashar al-Assad], which would have made ISIS's job even easier," he said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "They created these people. ISIS is all over Libya because these same hawks in my party loved -- they loved [former Secretary of State] Hillary Clinton’s war in Libya. They just wanted more of it."

Paul's comments come amid a heightened focus on the Iraq war and U.S. foreign policy. Earlier this month, a college student confronted former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, another likely Republican presidential candidate, and told him that his brother was responsible for the rise of ISIS -- something that the 43rd president did in fact help with. Both Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) struggled to say whether or not they would have invaded Iraq in 2003 with the intelligence available today.

On Wednesday, Paul said that the hawkish members of his party had long been wrong on foreign policy.

"Everything that they have talked about in foreign policy, they have been wrong about for 20 years, and yet they have somehow the gall to keep saying and pointing fingers otherwise."

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