This post has been updated.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has been a mainstay in Iowa as he builds support for a presumed 2016 presidential run, but he was forced to back out of a conference with Iowa conservatives last Saturday. Paul had a “family commitment,” he had told event organizers, per the Des Moines Register.
Then the New York Post reported on Monday that Paul had been hobnobbing with actor Alec Baldwin and numerous other celebrities on Saturday afternoon at a fundraiser at a library in the Hamptons.
It seemed to leave some of the Christian evangelical leaders who organized the Iowa event a little perturbed, according to the Register.
“From my perspective, there are always choices to be made of where do you want to be and what message do you want to send,” Bob Vander Plaats, who leads an Iowa evangelical group, said. “If you want to be at a fundraiser in the Hamptons with the rich and famous, you probably ought to tell people you want to be at a fundraiser in the Hamptons with the rich and famous.”
Paul aides told the Register that Paul did have a family commitment in New York that interfered with the event, and that he had attended the Hamptons fundraiser at the request of his book publisher. He was also boating and fishing in Montauk, a resort town in the Hamptons, over the weekend, per Bloomberg.
The aides also reached out to Vander Plaats to reassure him about the validity of his other commitment, the Register reported.
“I guess I can understand,” Vander Plaats told the newspaper.
UPDATE, 1:05 p.m. ET:
Baldwin did not take kindly to how some publications characterized the event, which the Post called a “bash” where Paul was “schmoozing.”
Trash papers like the @WashTimes
get it wrong even for Rand Paul, who actually attended a book fair:
— ABFoundation (@ABFalecbaldwin) August 13, 2014