GOP presidential candidate Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Monday that he doesn't blame President Barack Obama for the death of two hostages who were killed in a U.S. drone strike, and generally defended the use of drones in wartime.
"I tend not to want to blame the president for the loss of life here," Paul told Fox News. "I think he was trying to do the right thing."
Fox News host Brian Kilmeade agreed with Paul and said Obama shouldn't be blamed, "especially when these guys swore to destroy us."
Last week, a U.S. announced that a counterterrorism operation in January accidentally killed a U.S. prisoner, Warren Weinstein, and an Italian prisoner, Giovanni Lo Porto. Both were being held by Al Qaeda.
Paul admitted he's widely seen as an "opponent of drones." In 2013, he staged a filibuster in the Senate until the Obama administration clarified that it believed it would violate the Constitution to conduct a drone strike against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil who posed no threat.
But Paul said there's a clear use for drones in military operations, and said legally, he believes the captors were in a war zone and thus had no due process rights that deserved protection.
"I've been an opponent of using drones about people not involved in combat," he said. "However, if you're holding hostages, you kind of are involved in combat."
"So these people were in a war zone and probably got what was coming to them, the captors," he added. "Unfortunately, some innocent people lost their lives, the hostages."