WASHINGTON -- Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul isn’t backing away from his criticism of Donald Trump -- holding a conference call with reporters on Monday to reiterate his critique of the Republican front-runner. Paul, who also is running for president, was the first to engage Trump at the Republican debate on Thursday and is showing no signs of backing away from his criticism.
“Not enough people are noticing that we've got an empty suit here, full of bravado but not really full of anything meaningful for the country,” Paul told reporters.
He described Trump as an "emperor with no clothes" and warned that if the party isn't careful, "we'll end up with a reality TV star" as the nominee. He argued that Trump is lacking any substance or policy details. “Is there really anything substantive from calling people fat or stupid?” Paul said.
The debate last Thursday could mark the beginning of the portion of the primary process that will be punctuated by attacks among the candidates. There had already been a sizable amount of criticism between the 17 Republicans running for president. But on Thursday night when they were forced to present their criticism face to face, it took on an added sting.
Trump appears set to ride out of his controversial debate performance without much damage in the polls. Poll numbers show Trump still enjoying a lead for the Republican nomination. Paul, on the other hand, saw his numbers slip after the debate.
Paul was unafraid to attack Trump on the debate stage. Within minutes of Trump’s first response, Paul was shouting from across the stage and didn’t let up for the course of the debate.
On Monday, Paul said he was sticking to that message to try to make more people aware. “I think it's time someone stands up and calls nonsense nonsense,” Paul said. “Are we going to fix the country simply through bombasticness and empty blather? I made the decision from the opening of the debate that it was high time someone did stand up to him.”
During the press call, Paul was asked about a remark he made on Sunday in which he said income inequality came from "some people working harder" than others. Paul said that given the free market, some people are going to make more money than others for a number of reasons, including education and time spent working.