Former Vice President Dick Cheney says isolationists are “out to lunch” and indicated it would be difficult to support a Republican presidential candidate who held those views in 2016.
The comment, made in an interview with Politico on Monday, came after the former vice president was asked whether Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) would be “dangerous as president.”
Cheney declined to attack Paul by name, but said the policy of “isolationism is crazy” and warned against the strain that is forming within Republican Party.
“Anybody who went through 9/11, who thinks we can retreat behind our oceans and be safe and secure is, I’m sorry, you’re out to lunch,” he said.
Answering a separate question, Liz Cheney, Cheney’s daughter and a former Senate candidate in Wyoming, took aim at Paul when asked whether she preferred the Kentucky senator or Texas Gov. Rick Perry as a potential 2016 nominee.
“Obviously, Senator Paul leaves something to be desired in respect to national security policy,” she said. “When you look at, without endorsing anybody, I think that I’ve got some big concerns about the extent to which Senator Paul seems to think we can be safe if we just come home and try to build a fortress America, that’s certainly not going to work.”
It’s not the first time the Cheneys have publically criticized Paul’s foreign policy.
In an interview with “Meet the Press” last month, Paul said the recent turmoil in Iraq and the Middle East was at least, in part, caused by U.S. involvement in the region.
“I think the same questions could be asked of those who supported the Iraq War. You know, were they right in their predictions? Were there weapons of mass destruction there” That’s what the war was sold on,” he said. “Was the war won in 2005, when many of these people said it was won? They didn’t really, I think, understand the civil war that would break out.”
Cheney fired back, slamming Paul as “basically an isolationist.” “He doesn't believe we ought to be involved in that part of the world. I think it's absolutely essential," Cheney said on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."
Paul has repeatedly rejected the “isolationist” moniker, describing himself as “ a realist, not a neoconservative, nor an isolationist,” in a speech to the Heritage Foundation last year.