From the floor of the U.S. Senate last night, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) declared "#StandWithRand is trending on Twitter worldwide." While allowing his colleague from Kentucky, Senator Rand Paul, a brief respite, Cruz proceeded to read several tweets from around the country in support of Paul's filibuster to block the confirmation of John Brennan as director of the CIA. Tweet it: Tweet
Beginning at 11:47 AM Wednesday, Sen. Paul launched his filibuster saying:
"I rise today to begin to filibuster John Brennan's nomination for the CIA. I will speak until I can no longer speak. I will speak as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded that our Constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court...I don't rise to oppose John Brennan's nomination simply for the person. I rise today for the principle."
Paul continued moments later, invoking a passage from Alice in Wonderland:
"They say Lewis Carroll is fiction. Alice never fell down a rabbit hole and White Queen's caustic judgments are not really a threat to your security. Or has America the beautiful become Alice's Wonderland? 'No, no said the queen. Sentence first; verdict afterwards. Stuff and nonsense Alice said widely-loudly The idea of having the sentence first. 'Hold your tongue said the Queen, turning purple. I won't, said Alice. Release the drones as she shouted at the top of her voice.' Lewis Carroll is fiction, right? When I asked the President, can you kill an American on American soil, it should have been an easy answer. It's an easy question. It should have been a resounding and unequivocal "no." The President's response? He hasn't killed anyone yet. We're supposed to be comforted by that."
Citing a letter he received from Attorney General Eric Holder concerning the use of drone strikes on non-combatants in the U.S. without trial, Senator Paul stressed his discontent with the administration's response to his recent inquiries:
"I've been asking this question for a month. It's like pulling teeth to get the president to respond to anything. And I get no answer."
Over the course of several hours, Senator Paul was given momentary reprieves from fifteen of his colleagues, thirteen Republicans and two Democrats. Around midnight, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus tweeted:
The old-fashioned filibuster drew attention from around the globe. Media outlets ranging from The Daily Caller, The Guardian, the Drudge Report, as well as mainstream networks such as ABC covered the ongoing discussion throughout the night. Paul's statements even prompted The Huffington Post to produce a headline quoting him saying, "Where is the Barack Obama of 2007?'
The hashtag #StandWithRand trended at #1 on Twitter nationally in the U.S. for several hours as Paul extended his remarks to critiquing the president's foreign policy, and what he viewed as abuses of executive power and violations of civil liberties:
"I think it's also safe to say that Barack Obama of 2007 would be right down here with me arguing against this drone strike program if he were here in the Senate."
Sen. Paul's support would not be limited to Republican enthusiasts. Organizations that typically associate with the left, such as Code Pink and the ACLU, publicly voiced their support for his efforts. Van Jones, often a fierce critic of the Republican Party, tweeted:
Failing to receive a response from the White House, the son of former congressman Ron Paul yielded the floor at 12:39 AM Thursday with some humor.
He said he wished he could continue for another twelve hours to overtake Strom Thurmond's record, but "I've discovered there are some limits to filibustering, and I'm going to have to take care of one of those in a few minutes here."