Rand Paul is planning to join the uprising against the establishment by endorsing candidates in the upcoming 2018 Senate primaries, according to a Sunday interview with MSNBC‘s Kasie Hunt.
Paul described a “civil war with the GOP”, between establishment elements and those aligned with the Republican grassroots.
“I’ll be part of this – I’m going to be involved with primaries around the country,” Paul said, suggesting he will play a role in the 2018 revolt against the Senate establishment.
Asked if he would endorse challengers to incumbent Senators, he made clear that he is “not going to be opposing colleagues in the Senate”, but insisted that he “will get involved” in “open races” and will be “asking people to be a part of groups that will help in these races.”
“I’m going to be on the side of limited government, constitutional government, that we should declare war before we go to war, that we should balance our budget and that we have to have spending savings. The biggest problem with Republicans in Washington … is that there is a large amount of hypocrisy.”
Paul went on to elaborate exactly what sort of candidates he was looking for.
“I want people who truly do care and truly do believe the federal government should only do what it is allowed to do explicitly by the Constitution.”
However, Paul distanced himself from Hunt’s presentation of 2018 as a proxy war between former White House Chief Strategist Bannon and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Bannon is playing a large role in propping up anti-establishment candidates across the country on the condition that they pledge to oust McConnell from his leadership position.
Paul stated that he believed Bannon was “mixing it up”, and suggested the nationalist firebrand was sometimes getting too “personal” in his crusade against Senate Republicans. Paul emphasized his belief that ideas are more important than disputes between individuals.
“I’ve met [Bannon], I have nothing bad to say about him, and I’ll probably support some of the candidates he’s supporting, but it isn’t about me and Steve Bannon against Mitch McConnell,” Paul added.
Paul went on to tout his “good relations” with McConnell and stated that he thinks the Majority Leader does a “good job” in “herding the cats” within the Senate Republican caucus.
Paul was himself initially elected in the Tea Party wave of 2010, which saw the election of several anti-establishment conservative candidates to both Houses of Congress. Many on the right of the Republican Party have sought to replicate this success during the 2018 mid-term elections.