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GOP mess: Rand Paul and Liz Cheney get into nasty fight following John Bolton ouster

This got really ugly

William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images; Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

When President Donald Trump announced Tuesday that he had "fired" national security adviser John Bolton, there was no bigger Republican cheerleader of the move than Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.).

After news broke of Bolton's departure (which, according to Bolton, was a resignation, not a canning), Paul wrote, "I commend @realDonaldTrump for this necessary action. The President has great instincts on foreign policy and ending our endless wars. He should be served by those who share those views."

He later added, "The threat of war around the world has been greatly diminished, with John Bolton out of the White House."

Paul, who has long advocated for getting U.S. troops out of Afghanistan, further labeled Bolton a "neocon" and lamented that "neocons continue to advocate for endless wars" in a tweet that cited a Washington Examiner piece blasting Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) for "carping at Trump" for his refusal to go after Iran.

Like Bolton, Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President (and Sith Lord, if the American left is to be believed) Dick Cheney, has traditionally been more of an advocate of foreign intervention. And she wasn't about to let Paul's statement go unanswered.

"I stand with @realDonaldTrump and our men and women in uniform who will never surrender to terrorists, unlike @RandPaul, who seems to have forgotten that today is 9/11," she tweeted Wednesday.

They weren't done.

Thursday, Paul took another poke at Cheney, tweeting, "Hi @Liz_Cheney, President @realDonaldTrump hears all your NeverTrump warmongering. We all see your pro-Bolton blather. I'm just grateful for a president who, unlike you, supports stopping these endless wars."

Cheney responded with a personal-attack roundhouse.

"Hi @RandPaul I know the 2016 race was painful for you since you were such a big loser (then & now) with a dismal 4.5% in Iowa," she wrote. "No surprise since your motto seems to be 'Terrorists First, America Second.'"

For good measure, she included a "TBT" (aka Throwback Thursday) note quoting a nasty Trump tweet about Paul from Aug. 10, 2015, which said, "Truly weird Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky reminds me of a spoiled brat without a properly functioning brain. He was terrible at DEBATE!"

"No truer words were ever spoken," Cheney said of the years-old Trump slam.

And they still weren't done. As this story was being written, the two elected officials continued.

Paul responded to Cheney's taunt with, "Hey ⁦@Liz_Cheney⁩ I feel like you might just be mad still about when Candidate Trump shredded your Dad's failed foreign policy and endless wars."

Cheney attacked again with a personal jab, saying, "Weird. I don't see you on stage here, @RandPaul. Oh, right. My bad - you had already lost."

She closed with a hashtag insult:" #weirdRand."

Why does this matter?

First of all, they're adults.

Second, they are elected lawmakers whose daily jobs impact the lives of every American.

That said, in the world of politics, it's not uncommon for elected officials to say nasty things about each other. Even intra-party squabbles can happen.

What really adds intrigue to this back-and-forth is that Cheney is currently mulling a 2020 Senate bid to replace Sen. Mike Enzi, who announced in May that he would not seek reelection next year.

If Cheney, who has built up power within the Republican establishment already in the House — even to the point that some GOPers are reportedly urging her to stay in the House for a possible future speakership — does take Enzi's seat, she and Paul could be at loggerheads in the upper chamber for the foreseeable future.

One last thing…
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