Rand Paul has turned almost his full attention, it seems, to warning the populace that nominating Donald Trump as the Republican Presidential Candidate would be disastrous for the party and guarantee a loss. (Notably, during the debate Thursday night, Trump said he wouldn't rule out an Independent run if he fails to get the nomination, and many say that this, too, would ensure a GOP loss, by dividing the party.) Paul has spent time over the past two days warning his followers that Trump cannot be president, and that a vote for him as the GOP candidate is tantamount to a vote for Hillary Clinton as president.
Thursday night, following the debate on Fox, Rand Paul began posting on social media, calling for Republicans to back away from Donald Trump. He began with this clip from the beginning of the debate, in which Trump refuses to say that he wouldn't attempt an Independent run, even if it would ensure that the Democratic candidate would win the presidential race, and Paul calls him out for "buy[ing] and sell[ing] politicians" and "hedging his bets."
On Saturday, Paul spoke further about Donald Trump, calling him a "chameleon" who "was pro-choice before he was pro-life," "liberal before he was conservative," and "a Democrat before he was a Republican."
He went on to warn, "Ross Perot gave us Bill Clinton and Donald Trump will give us Hillary."
On Sunday, three days after the debate, Trump still seems to be a focal point for Paul's campaign. He shared another clip on social media, this one of himself saying essentially the same things about Trump he'd said in Saturday's social media post: that Trump is a "chameleon" who has been on both sides of every issue, and that he is going to hand the election to Hillary Clinton.
Rand Paul is hardly the only candidate to criticize Trump since (and before) the debate. Multiple candidates have called him out for his statements about Mexican immigrants and about his treatment of Megyn Kelly when she asked him about misogynistic comments on his Twitter account.
Meanwhile, Trump himself is doubling down, name-calling those political commentators who speak against him or blacklist him for events, insisting his assertion that Megyn Kelly had "blood coming from here wherever" when she challenged him on his treatment of women wasn't at all an anti-female attack, and accusing Fox News of a bias against him.
Small crowds at @RedState today in Atlanta. People were very angry at EWErickson, a major sleaze and buffoon who has saved me time and money
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 9, 2015
Almost universal support that "Trump won the debate." Only @FoxNews is consistantly fighting the Trump win, and I got them the ratings!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 8, 2015
Whether Donald Trump can take the Republican nomination -- especially with months to come of his directness in insulting everyone around him in direct, open attacks -- remains to be seen, but either way, it's clear that other candidates are concerned about the divide he is creating in the GOP voter base.
[Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images]