Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) had some strong words for fellow senator Rand Paul (R-KY) over his libertarian take on the end of the Cuban trade embargo.

So strong, in fact, that Paul decided to take the fight to the internet.

During his Thursday night appearance on “The Kelly File,” Rubio had this to say about Paul and his anti-embargo cohorts:

“Like many people that have been opining, he has no idea what he’s talking about,” Rubio said Thursday night on Fox News’s “The Kelly File.”

Earlier on Thursday, Paul had voiced support for Obama’s surprise move on Wednesday to open an embassy in Cuba as well as ease economic and travel restrictions.
“The 50-year embargo just hasn’t worked,” Paul said. “If the goal is regime change, it sure doesn’t seem to be working, and probably it punishes the people more than the regime because the regime can blame the embargo for hardship.”

“Look, Venezuela’s economy looks like Cuba’s economy now,” Rubio said. “You can’t even buy toilet paper in Caracas. And there’s no embargo on Venezuela. What Venezuela has in common with Cuba, is they both have adopted radical socialist governmental policies.

“And I would expect that people would understand that if they just took a moment to analyze that, they would realize that the embargo is not what’s hurting the Cuban people,” Rubio added. “It’s the lack of freedom and the lack of competent leaders.”

Not to be outdone by a fellow prospective presidential contender, Paul took to Facebook for what many are now calling an ill-advised rant:


The trolling continued on Twitter:

(Isn’t there a built-in moat between the US and Cuba? Anyway…)

It was part snark, part sincerity, and almost no one can agree as to whether or not it resulted in a net gain for Paul outside of his own circle of solidified libertarian voters.

Paul is pushing this concept of “isolationism” as it relates to the Cuban embargo, but while the sentiment is understood, the underlying philosophy and application just isn’t resonating with GOP primary voters.

As Noah Rothman at Hot Air points out:

Paul represents a libertarian wing of the GOP which provides the party with a critical infusion of youth and vitality. On the domestic front, libertarian policy prescriptions are often inspired and would if adopted produce the long-sought conservative goal of reduced governmental interference into American lives. Paul’s approach to foreign policy matters are, however, not nearly as well-founded as are his domestic reforms.

If Paul’s intention in this burst of tweets was to both reveal his ignorance of the history of normalizing relationships with communist countries and to almost perfectly echo the most liberal president in modern American history, mission accomplished. His judgment has, however, been exposed by this episode as rather questionable.

Part of Paul’s problem is that Rubio has spent quite a bit of time over the past year establishing himself as a key player in foreign policymaking. Being the son of Cuban immigrants has given him additional credibility on the issue, and it’s for this reason that Paul perhaps should have thought twice before making Cuba this week’s hill to die on.

h/t The Shark Tank


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