The feisty exchange between U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and Sec. of State John Kerry was one of the most compelling in Tuesday’s hours long Senate hearing on Syria.
Paul, a constitutional conservative, said he was quite pleased President Obama decided to turn to Congress for a vote on military action in Syria, but then expressed doubts that Obama would honor a “no” vote from Congress and strike Syria anyway.
“[M]ake me proud today, Secretary Kerry. Stand up for us and say, you’re going to obey the Constitution and if we vote you down, which is unlikely, but if we do, you would go with what the people say through their Congress, and you wouldn’t go forward with the war that your Congress votes against. Can you give me a better answer, Secretary Kerry?” Paul asked.
“I can’t give you a different answer than the one I gave you,” Kerry responded. “I don’t know what the president’s decision is, but I will tell you this, it ought to make you proud, because he still has the constitutional authority, and he would be in keeping with the Constitution.”
That answer didn’t please Paul who disagreed the president had the constitutional authority to strike Syria if Congress voted no.
Paul told Kerry if the president didn’t “abide” by a no vote, he would be “making a joke” of Congress, and that these hearings would be nothing more than “constitutional theater for the president.”
Watch the entire exchange where Paul schools Kerry on the constitution via YouTube here: