Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul joined ABC News' "Powerhouse Politics" podcast, saying the Kurds are acting like 'ingrates' in disrespecting U.S. troops.
With President Donald Trump facing an eruption of dissatisfaction inside his own party over his military policy regarding Syria, Paul has emerged as a fierce defender of the idea that the U.S. has the right to wind down on “endless wars.”
With images of Kurdish forces seen hurling potatoes at American troops leaving northern Syria, Paul said the Kurds should be more grateful for the opportunities and resources the U.S. troops provided for them.
"We saved the Kurds from being beheaded and massacred by ISIS," Paul told the hosts, ABC News Political Director Rick Klein and Senior Congressional Correspondent Mary Bruce, on Wednesday. "They were able to win with our armament, with our Air Force, and they should be thanking us and throwing rose petals. And so, no, I'm offended by them throwing refuse at our troops. And it shows them to be ingrates."
Paul added that pulling U.S. troops out of the area may even help the Kurds’ situation, saying since all sides now involve authoritarian leadership, Russia's involvement could actually bring "all parties to the table." The lawmaker also suggested the Kurds' best chance would be to ally with Assad.
Trump's decision to remove troops has come under fire from many GOP leaders. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney have both publicly denounced the president for abandoning U.S.-Kurdish allies. Cheney even called the decision a “catastrophic mistake.”
Paul came on the podcast to promote his new book, "The Case Against Socialism," in which he argues socialism has been misbranded in the 21st Century -- reflecting on the 20th century horrors Paul said young Americans have forgotten.
"Socialism throughout history has been associated with famine and genocide," he told the hosts. "It's important that young people know that history, but it's also important that young people know that you can't dress up something evil like socialism with the word democratic and make it okay."
Sen. Paul defended Trump on another front too -- the House Democrat's impeachment inquiry.
"I think there's no basis at all for impeachment," Paul said, adding that he thinks it's a completely partisan probe.
This comes a day after William Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine -- testified before lawmakers of three House committees on Tuesday, saying a White House meeting for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was “conditioned on the investigation of Burisma and the alleged Ukranian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections."
Paul continued his defense by going on the attack, calling out Democrats for also threatening to withhold military aid to Ukraine.
"Both sides have been involved with sort of a quid pro quo," Paul said, implicating that Trump did in fact imply a "quid pro quo" on his July 25 call with Zelenskiy, including 2020 democratic candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden. He also called out New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez and Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy.
"So I really think that the Democrats don't have a leg to stand on here," Paul later continued, echoing White House acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney's 'get over it' statement from Thursday's press conference. "Joseph Biden, threatening their aid. Menendez, threatening their aid. Murphy, threatening their aid. It seems like there's almost nobody in Washington who hasn't threatened Ukraine with removing their aid unless they -- quid pro quo , unless Ukraine does what they want."
Paul hasn't always supported Trump's policies. During the 2016 GOP presidential primary, he called Trump a "delusional narcissist" and other unpleasant names. With traditional conservative judges nominated to the Supreme Court and a large tax cut, Paul said Trump's presidency inadvertently changed his mind and has been truly conservative.
"It turns out that I've been very pleasantly surprised," Paul said, acknowledging his reversal of opinion.
Powerhouse Politics podcast is a weekly program that posts every Wednesday, and includes headliner interviews and in-depth looks at the people and events shaping U.S. politics. Powerhouse Politics podcast is hosted by ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl and ABC News Political Director Rick Klein.