Sen. Rand Paul castigated President Barack Obama on Friday for his use of executive action, arguing the President is an “arrogant” leader whose policies resemble those of an “autocrat.”
“The resident acts like he’s a king. He ignores the Constitution,” the Kentucky Republican said. “He arrogantly says, ‘If Congress will not act, then I must.’ These are not the words of a great leader. These are the words that sound more like the exclamations of an autocrat.”
At the beginning of the year, Obama declared 2014 as a “year of action,” vowing to pursue his agenda on his own if Congress gets bogged down in partisan gridlock. In July, for example, he signed an executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating against employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Obama had planned to makes moves on immigration, but earlier this month decided to postpone any executive action until after the midterm elections in November.
Paul’s remarks, which came before a social conservative audience at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, were laced with attacks against the administration.
While the senator agrees with the President’s decision to lead an airstrike campaign against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, he continued to blast Obama for not seeking authorization from Capitol Hill first.
“In the face of war, the President is just as arrogant,” Paul said. “Instead of coming to Congress, he illegally acts on his own.”
The Obama administration has cited a 2001 measure passed by Congress to fight al Qaeda and the 2002 Iraq war authorization as legislation that grants him power to take action against the militant group.
More broadly, Paul criticized what he described as a lack of “virtue” and “tradition” in the nation’s capital. Saying America “is in a full blown crisis –a spiritual crisis,” Paul called for a “revival” of such values.
Paul’s speeches rarely weave in his faith, but the senator ticked off a number of talking points Friday that play well with social and evangelical audiences, including his stance against abortion and his call to end foreign aid to countries that target Christians.
“I think we must do something our world often tells us not to do: Seek God,” he said, arguing the country needs to reclaim its constitutional roots, but not going too deep into specifics.
“We’ve arrived at a day of reckoning,” he said. “Will we falter or will we thrive and rediscover our mojo?”