Cut the president some slack, say the Kentucky senator and some of his GOP colleagues.
As the GOP’s long-dominant hawkish wing hammers President Donald Trump over his chummy appearance Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin, a minority of Republicans aren't ready to clip their president's diplomatic wings.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), whose non-interventionist streak has long put him at odds with GOP foreign policy orthodoxy, plans to travel to Russia in early August to play shuttle diplomacy for Trump. In an interview on Monday, Paul said he hopes to meet with Trump before he heads overseas to “to see if there’s anything he wants us to follow up on.”
“It’s gotten so ridiculous that someone has to stand up and say we should try to engage even our adversaries and open up our lines of communication,” Paul said. "We’re going to talk to the president about some small steps in order to try to thaw the relations between our countries."
It’s hard to imagine any other GOP president empowering a legislator like Paul to pursue his goals of diplomacy with a longtime adversary like Russia. Paul's focus, for now, is on cultural exchange and fostering cross-Atlantic visits by U.S. and Russian ambassadors.