Rand Paul is picking a fight with Marco Rubio on Twitter.
On Friday, the Kentucky senator launched a social-media assault on his Florida colleague—and fellow speculative 2016 candidate—about reopening U.S. diplomatic relations with Cuba. Senate decorum be damned.
Rubio cast the first stone at Paul on Thursday night. After Paul asserted earlier in the day that opening up trade with Cuba is "probably a good idea," Rubio told Fox News that Paul "has no idea what he's talking about."
On Friday, Paul posted this message on Facebook:
Senator Marco Rubio believes the embargo against Cuba has been ineffective, yet he wants to continue perpetuating failed policies. After 50 years of conflict, why not try a new approach? The United States trades and engages with other communist nations, such as China and Vietnam. Why not Cuba? I am a proponent of peace through commerce, and I believe engaging Cuba can lead to positive change.
Seems to me, Senator Rubio is acting like an isolationist who wants to retreat to our borders and perhaps build a moat. I reject this isolationism. Finally, let's be clear that Senator Rubio does not speak for the majority of Cuban-Americans. A recent poll demonstrates that a large majority of Cuban-Americans actually support normalizing relations between our countries.
Paul then supplemented his shade-throwing in a series of tweets:
Hey @marcorubio if the embargo doesn't hurt Cuba, why do you want to keep it?— Dr. Rand Paul (@RandPaul) December 19, 2014
Senator @marcorubio is acting like an isolationist who wants to retreat to our borders and perhaps build a moat. I reject this isolationism.— Dr. Rand Paul (@RandPaul) December 19, 2014
The United States trades and engages with other communist nations, such as China and Vietnam. So @marcorubio why not Cuba?— Dr. Rand Paul (@RandPaul) December 19, 2014
Calling Rubio an "isolationist" (twice in one tweet!) is a little rich coming from Paul, who has long battled those who would apply that term to himself. Whether Rubio decides to respond or take the high road, the tweets provide for some mildly entertaining political theater before the holiday season—and set the stage for intra-party fights to come.
This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.