WASHINGTON — Sen. Rand Paul told an off-the-record meeting of conservative donors and powerbrokers Monday that he plans to file a bill that would ban sending F-16 fighter jets to Egypt.
“The crowed loved it,” a source told BuzzFeed.
Last year, Lockheed Martin delivered 20 F-16 fighter jets to Egypt as part of $1.3 billion in military aid from the U.S. government, The New York Times reported.
Paul has expressed concern for the practice in the past — but his remarks via Skype to a meeting in New York City showed even firmer support by the Kentucky senator for policies that might cater to Jewish voters, as well as Evangelical groups that are staunchly pro-Israel.
Paul’s role in the meeting came as a surprise to attendees: Sen. Mike Lee was slated to be the sole featured speaker, but was held up in Washington by a vote to approve the last wave of Hurricane Sandy relief funding, which he opposed. When Lee Skyped in to the meeting, he invited Paul, Sen. Tim Scott and Sen. Ted Cruz to make cameos appearances.
At a similar closed-door conservative meeting in Charleston last week, Paul met separately with a small group of Evangelical ministers, one of whom asked about his commitment to Israeli interests.
Paul, who recently visited Israel, responded that Israel was among his top priorities, a source said.
To further beef up his pro-Israel credentials, Paul’s office has also expressed interest in the senator speaking at an event next month to celebrate congressional support for Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile defense program.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this item identified the gathering to which Lee spoke as the “Monday Meeting,” which Lee’s office confirmed. It was in fact another, rival gathering.