Liz Cheney throws lighter fluid on feud with Rand Paul
BALTIMORE — Republican Rep. Liz Cheney is not backing down from her Twitter feud with fellow Republican Rand Paul.
Cheney, the third-ranking House Republican and head of the party’s messaging efforts, told reporters on Friday that she “enjoyed” duking it out with Paul over foreign policy and arguing over who is more aligned with President Donald Trump.
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“I thought it was an enlightening exchange,” Cheney said at a press conference during the second day of the House GOP’s annual retreat. “Here I had been thinking the Senate was dull.”
“But there are some issues at the heart of that disagreement,” the Wyoming Republican added. “There are issues surrounding whether you put America first, as Trump does, or if you blame America first, as Rand Paul does and has for years.”
Cheney is slated to lead a breakout session at the retreat on Friday focused on foreign policy issues, including Russia, China and the military of the future.
The spat comes days after the ouster of Trump’s hawkish national security adviser John Bolton, which has prompted a round of jockeying among the GOP’s hawks and doves to bend the president’s ear on foreign policy. And it also comes after Trump said last weekend he canceled secret peace talks with the Taliban that were planned for Camp David.
Paul, a libertarian senator from Kentucky, fired the first shot, sharing an article criticizing Cheney and asking why “neocons continue to advocate for endless wars.” Cheney, an interventionist-minded member of the Armed Services Committee, hit back, saying, “I stand with @realDonaldTrump and our men and women in uniform who will never surrender to terrorists, unlike @RandPaul, who seems to have forgotten that today is 9/11.”
The fight then devolved, with Cheney jabbing Paul about being a “big loser” in the 2016 primary and Paul’s top aide stepping in to call Cheney a “chickenhawk.” And Paul himself trolled Cheney with a thread highlighting all the times Cheney has split with Trump, an effort seen by some of Cheney’s allies aimed at damaging her prospects in a potential Senate bid.
Cheney is still considering whether to run for the Wyoming Senate seat left open after Sen. Mike Enzi announced his retirement in May. Paul has already endorsed Cheney’s potential rival, former Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), who officially jumped into the race earlier this summer.
The feud between Cheney and Paul runs deep. Their fathers — former Vice President Dick Cheney and failed presidential candidate and former Rep. Ron Paul — served alongside each other in the House and disagreed over foreign policy issues.