POLITICS
12/03/2015 04:20 pm ET | Updated Jan 06, 2017

Rand Paul Quick To Speculate About Motive In San Bernardino Shooting

After the Planned Parenthood shooting, he was more cautious.

Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images

WASHINGTON -- Republican presidential hopeful Rand Paul asked on Thursday if "Islamic terrorism" was at the root of the San Bernardino, California, shooting, just days after saying he wouldn't rush to judgment following a shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado.

After a gunman killed three and wounded nine at the Colorado Springs clinic, Paul told radio host Laura Ingraham that it's difficult to discuss why mass shootings occur when there's such overwhelming sadness for those killed.

"I just try to say, at this point, let's mourn for the victims," the Kentucky senator said.

The San Bernardino shooting claimed 14 lives, and at least 21 others were injured. But on the very next day, Paul was ready to consider the shooters' motive rather than simply grieve for their victims. While officials have yet to determine why the suspect couple, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, did what they did, Paul offered one thought to conservative radio host Brian Kilmeade.

"My first question is, is this Islamic terrorism?" Paul said.

Paul referred to reports that Malik had recently come from Saudi Arabia and said the U.S. should investigate whether she was part of a radicalized sect there.

He touted his proposed amendment to the budget bill that would block the inflow of visitors, students and refugees from some 34 countries that he said have radical Islamic movements.

Paul maintained his staunch opposition to mass surveillance by the government. Asked by Kilmeade whether blocking the collection of metadata from U.S. citizens enables terrorism, he stood his ground.

"I'm for looking at the records and investigating, as much as we can, anyone that we're suspicious of and they can get a judge to sign a warrant for. That's the Bill of Rights," Paul said. "But I'm not for looking at all Americans' records because that's why we fought the Revolutionary War -- we fought against generalized warrants."

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