Earlier this week on CNN, former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) appeared on CNN to weigh in on the 2016 presidential election.
Paul discussed the ongoing saga of the battle for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. However, he also told CNN host Ashleigh Banfield that given the choice between Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump and Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton, he would opt for “none of the above.”
Transcript as follows:
BANFIELD: My next guest, is the RNC deserves every bit of the distress that it’s in Ron Paul, former Republican congressman from Texas, two time candidate for president, joining me live from the Texas community at Lake Jackson. Thank you so much for joining me, I do appreciate this.
And when you say that the GOP deserves every bit of the mess it’s in, do you truly believe that?
PAUL: Well, I do. But I don’t think it’s all that important. Because, you know, rules are there, they change them, they have done it. I think the interesting thing is that there was so much concern about me, you know, we had a good following, there was a lot of strength there. But they didn’t need to do all that and they hurt themselves by changing the rules, but they showed that they were strong and they control things and they had more attorneys and more money, so they would even allow me to appear and give a little talk. And I think it hurt them in the general election.
So they sort of brought it upon themselves. They never dreamed they would be on the receiving end of this. So they’re in the situation I was in, that they made it more difficult for somebody to challenge.
And ordinarily over the years, these things have happened and behind the scenes they have been able to change it. But they change things even in the primary, they’re just, there — in the primary races that’s going on now, they’re trying to desperately of course to knock down Trump’s vote, they may end up doing it, or they will challenge it. There will be technicalities. But it will continue, but they’re in a real bind, because just to change the rules won’t go over so easily now, because, you know …
BANFIELD: Now everybody’s watching. Everybody’ is watching on a microscope.
PAUL: And who knows what he’ll do?
BANFIELD: Well good point. Yes, you’re right, who knows what he’ll do.
Let me ask you this, though, because it looks pretty clear at this point, barring any major rule change, and barring any complete change in the way things have gone until now, that Donald Trump’s going to be the nominee. And it looks like it’s quite possible he will face Hillary Clinton in a general election. You have said in the past, that you think there’s no meaningful difference between Clinton and Trump, that they both support the military industrial complex, the federal reserve deficits, entitlements, an invasion of privacy.
So I’ve got to ask you, as a red lettered American, who probably cherishes the right to vote. Who would you vote for if you think they’ll both the same?
PAUL: Well what I would like to have on all the ballots is none of the above. And then we can vote for none of the above.
BANFIELD: That wasn’t my question though.
PAUL: But I’m not going to vote for one of those two for sure, you know, they’re too close together. And there’s the dreamers, even there’s, you know, the independent type Republicans that were on my side, someone said, “Yeah, but he’s better. But, you know, this whole idea of the lesser two evils, there’s something OK about it. I don’t think so, I don’t see how anything could be improved, because I think once the person is in office.
I mean Obama ran as a true progressive. But he became much more a militant. He liked the war in Afghanistan. He supported the overthrow of the Ukraine and he’s sending troops back to Iraq. And I don’t even think he fundamentally believes that to tell you the truth. So he – I think the events, even regardless of who wins, will there be enough pressure to do exactly what we have been doing.
They’re not going to have the fear to deny them some power to take negative interest rates and all this which needs to be done.
BANFIELD: OK, I may have lost you on my — your piece for a short moment. But I’m not sure I got the answer though, if Donald Trump is the Republican nominee, would you vote for him?
PAUL: No, no, I mean, I was very explicit about that, I won’t vote for Donald Trump.
BANFIELD: Would you just not vote then or would you vote for the Democratic ticket?
PAUL: No, I had mentioned that we should have none of the above, and then you should pick another candidate, you know, if you can’t stand any of them and you happen to be a dedicated progressive, you ought to make your vote count and vote for the green party and if happen to be a libertarian, vote for the libertarian party.
But to vote for the lesser two evils, I don’t think make it possible, and I know I get a lot of (inaudible) oh, no, from the Republicans, Conservatives I think they would absolutely Trump is so far superior. But quite frankly I’m not sure exactly what he’ll do and that bothers me as well because he does — he can give two positions in one speech, I don’t know if you noticed that or not. But he …
BANFIELD: I saw it just yesterday. I saw three petitions yesterday. Ron Paul, I have to leave it there. But thank you so much, I really appreciate you being on today. Say hello to the great State of Texas for me.
(h/t RCP Video)