Rand Paul said on Monday that Republicans should celebrate the release of American prisoners in Iran instead of merely calling President Obama a "dastardly dude."
"At the same time, we don't need to make it just about always saying, 'Oh, the president's a dastardly dude,' which he is," the Kentucky senator told Iowa radio host Simon Conway. "I think we have to admit that there is cause for celebration in getting our people home."
Paul was commenting on the release of five Americans who were detained in Iran, four of whom, including Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, were released in a prisoner swap. The U.S. released seven Iranians. Paul spoke about the nuclear deal with Iran, expressing skepticism as to whether Iran had been "completely honest with us," when he called the release of the Americans "a bright spot."
Those were not the only positive words the Republican presidential candidate had to offer for Obama. Earlier in the interview, he praised Obama for granting clemency to the mother of Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, Katrina Smith.
"While I don't agree with the president on much, this is something I do agree with the president on," Paul said. "He granted clemency to Demaryius Thomas' mom and I agree with it."
He had previously argued that Hillary Clinton should apologize to Smith "for putting her in jail for 15 years."
"You know, back in the '90s, the Clintons were big on putting everybody in jail for life sentences for drugs," Paul said. "But then it turns out that a whole generation of African-Americans have been put away, including Demaryius Thomas' mom."
Christopher Massie is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Christopher Massie at Christopher.Massie@buzzfeed.com.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.