Reporting on the call by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to cut Israel assistance, I’ve emphasized that CNN’s Wolf Blitzer had to almost knock it out of him — it was clear Paul preferred to talk about other spending cuts.
I’ve done this not because I believe Paul is insincere — he clearly is not — but to show that he understands what a hard sell cutting Israel aid is within his own party; i.e., to demonstrate that this is still a marginal call within the GOP.
Now that it’s out, though, Paul is stepping out. Here he is talking to Jonathan Karl at ABC:
Paul defended his call to end to all foreign aid — including the $3 billion the U.S. gives to Israel every year.
"I’m not singling out Israel. I support Israel. I want to be known as a friend of Israel," Paul said, "but not with money you don’t have. We can’t just borrow from our kids’ future and give it to countries even if they are our friends."
Paul has come under fire from supporters of Israel, but said Israel has enough financial resources to fend for itself.
"I think they’re an important ally, but I also think that their per capita income is greater than probably three-fourths of the rest of the world," Paul said. "Should we be giving free money or welfare to a wealthy nation? I don’t think so."
And military resources, as well.
"I think they’re probably 10 years ahead of any neighboring country," he said. "I think that their defense is very significant and probably well in advance of any of their particular enemies."