Real estate mogul Donald Trump may have had a hard time answering foreign policy questions in a Thursday radio interview, but presidential campaign rival Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) wasn’t about to knock him for it on Friday.
The Kentucky Republican came to Trump’s defense after the GOP presidential frontrunner was stumped by a question from conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt on the Quds force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Trump mistook the Quds force for the Kurds, an ethnic group.
“It can be hard to hear the difference. If you are talking about hearing, I sometimes don’t hear well,” Paul said on Sirius XM’s “The Michael Smerconish Program.” “Between Quds and Kurds—also, the pronunciation you know is a ‘q’ and not a ‘k’ but it sounds like a ‘k.’”
Trump seemed to chafe at being corrected by Hewitt and accused the radio host of asking “gotcha questions.” Paul said he agreed with that assessment.
“I also do think that running through a list of every different Arabic name and asking somebody to respond to them is maybe a little bit of a game of gotcha,” he told host Michael Smerconish.
Paul’s defense of Trump was notable, given that the two have taken quite a few shots at each other in recent weeks. Trump sniped at Paul last month on the GOP debate stage after Paul pointed to the billionaire’s previous support for single-payer healthcare.
“I don’t think you heard me,” Trump deflected. “You’re having a hard time tonight.”
But Paul did think Trump should’ve been able to at least distinguish between Hamas and Hezbollah when Hewitt asked him about the extremist groups.
“Knowing a little bit of the history, or a significant amount of the history, of what’s been going on the Middle East is important for our next leader,” he said.
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.