The current state of U.S.—Russia relations is not great, especially as it pertains to our nation’s suspicion of President Trump. Namely, a sizeable chunk of America believes that Trump colluded with the Russians to gain the presidency, and that Russia ran a separate online influence campaign, and potentially also hacked the election itself. This collusion/interference has become an idee fixe of the liberal left, and as the evidence stacks up, there certainly seems to be fire behind this smoke. Meanwhile, the vast majority of elected Republicans are lining up behind the president—that’s what they do—which is triggered suspicions that the Russian hydra extends deep into the right wing. Democrats are now attempting to pass legislation that would levy financial penalties in the case of Russian meddling in the midterms.
In other words, it’s not the best time to get super friendly, in a super public way, with Russian officials.
Enter Rand Paul, master of political timing. In the midst of the Russia hysteria, the Kentucky senator decided that now would be a good time to invite an entire Russian federation to D.C. He even released a whole statement!
MOSCOW, RUSSIA – During an hour-long meeting today, U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) secured an agreement from Konstantin Kosachev, Chairman of the Russian Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs, to send members of the Russian Federation to Washington, the first trip from the Russian Federation to the U.S. Capitol in almost three years, to continue dialogue on vital issues such as nuclear non-proliferation and combating terrorism. The Council Committee on Foreign Affairs is the Russian equivalent of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, of which Senator Paul is a member.
“Engagement is vital to our national security and peace around the world. Today, I met with Chairman Kosachev, and we agreed on the importance of continued dialogue. I invited the Russian Federation to send a delegation to the Capitol, and they have agreed to take this important next step,” said Sen. Rand Paul.
Now, look—in a world where the last two years never happened, there’s nothing wrong with this. It’s an attempt to strengthen a bond between two countries. Fine. But in August 2018, maybe this move shouldn’t come from a Republican senator, much less one who, as the Washington Post pointed out, has been a surprisingly vocal defender of Trump’s conduct with Russia.
In other words, Rand, read the damn room.