Paul Steinhauser: In NH1 News interview Rand Paul urges Clinton to return donations
MANCHESTER - Sen. Rand Paul is calling on Hillary Clinton to return gifts given by foreign countries, saying "it's unseemly and we shouldn't be taking this money."
In an interview Friday in New Hampshire with NH1 News, Paul said that "the constitution says you're not supposed to take gifts from foreign countries. I think she should return them. I will call in New Hampshire today that Hillary Clinton should return all of her gifts to foreign countries."
"They say there's a war on women. Well, yeah there is in Saudi Arabia. You can be raped in Saudi Arabia, and they put you in jail. You can be raped in Saudi Arabia and they publicly lash you and whip you for being raped. So Hillary Clinton needs to explain why she's taking money from foreign countries that abuse the rights of women and frankly I think today she should announce that she's going to give the money back," the Republican senator from Kentucky and all-but-certain GOP presidential candidate added.
When asked if Paul was referring to the former secretary of state or the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, the senator responded "tell me the difference."
A senior Paul political adviser told NH1 that the senator will formally call for "Hillary Clinton to return any money received by the Clinton Foundation from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia" at a speech Friday evening at Carroll County Lincoln Day Dinner.
NH reached out to a Clinton spokesman and a pro-Clinton group for a response.
"This is rich coming from Rand Paul, who defends individual liberties only when it suits him, and not when these rights extend to the pay discrimination or healthcare of women. Hillary Clinton has spent a lifetime advocating on behalf of women, children, and their families," said Adrienne Watson, deputy communications director for Correct the Record, a pro-Democratic group that defends Clinton from attacks from Republicans.
The Clinton Foundation plays a prominent role in international development, battling HIV/AIDS, providing relief after natural disasters, and helping farmers and entrepreneurs in developing countries across the globe. During Hillary Clinton's tenure as secretary of state during President Barack Obama's first term, the foundation refrained from accepting donations from foreign countries, but eased those restrictions after Clinton stepped down as secretary of state in early 2013.
News of the loosening of those donation restrictions became a major story earlier this year, as Clinton moved closer and closer to launching a second bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. Clinton is widely expected to launch a campaign for the White House as early as next month.
Paul made his comments after meeting with employees at Dynamic Network Services, a cloud-based internet performance company. It was the first stop in a jam-packed two day swing through the first-in-the-nation primary state.
Aides to Paul have confirmed to NH1 that Paul's expected to make a major announcement in Louisville, Kentucky on April 7. It's widely expected that Paul will announce his candidacy for president. The next day Paul is expected to return to New Hampshire.