Rand Paul questions Donald Trump's conservative credentials after Bowling Green appearance

08/11/2015 04:58 PM

BOWLING GREEN — U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, has shifted his focus towards Donald Trump as the billionaire climbs the polls.

Just weeks after declining to speak about the Republican primary frontrunner, Paul is seeking to shine a light on Trump and the positions he has held.

Responding to a question from Pure Politics after speaking at the Veterans Open House at the American Legion in Bowling Green on Monday, Paul questioned whether the real estate mogul is actually a conservative.

“I came out of this tea party movement — and the tea party movement, we were unhappy with fake conservatives,” Paul said. “People have to ask themselves whether Trump is really a conservative or not.”

He continued: “People have to wonder whether this new found beliefs of Donald Trump are real or just part of his reality show.”

Over the past two decades Trump has changed political parties multiple times. Trump has been a Republican, independent, a Democrat, then back to the GOP.

Still, Trump leads the Republican presidential field in polling, with the latest polls showing him taking larger leads since the Cleveland debate hosted by Fox News last week.

Timothy Noah from Politico recently penned a story detailing the multitude of positions held by the wealthy businessman, calling on the “real Donald Trump” to please stand up.

Paul held a press call which the Washington Post reports was “essentially about Trump.”

In the call the Post reports Paul was worried that “fat jokes and stupid jokes” would alienate Republican voters.

Monday evening Trump took to social media to call out Paul and his performance at Thursday’s debate.

Less than one month ago Paul refused to discuss Trump and his comments on Mexican immigrants, instead choosing to focus on policy issues within his own run for the White House.

The upcoming Republican debates prompted the strategy shift, he said.

“I think it’s time to mix it up and show the differences,” Paul said.

As Paul changes tactics, some in the national press have questioned his fundraising ability and organizational problems.

The Kentucky Republican said he is “very pleased” with his campaign, and he points to his polling lead in head-to-head match-ups against Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton as proof.

“Donald Trump’s down 16 points to Hillary Clinton,” he said. “All of his incendiary blather is making him someone who’s unelectable in a general election. We still poll against Hillary Clinton better than her in five states won by President Obama.”

Paul is also facing his own hurdles in the commonwealth as several national outlets report questions still exist over Paul’s ability to pay for a new Republican presidential caucus in 2016, omething Paul’s spokespeople say he has the funds to pay for.

The Republican Party of Kentucky’s State Central Committee is scheduled to decide if the GOP will hold an early March presidential caucus on Aug. 22.

Paul needs the caucus because of a state statute that says a candidate can only appear on the ballot for one office, and Paul is up for re-election to his Senate seat in 2016 — a position he is hoping to retain if he does not become the Republican presidential nominee.

Still, Democrats in the state are more than happy to cast doubt on the caucus system even getting off the ground.

At a pre-Fancy Farm event, Gov. Steve Beshear told Pure Politics that he’s started to see push back from statewide Republicans on the idea.

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.



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