(WASHINGTON) — Former Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., regrets his previous endorsement of Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., disavowing the former ally because he has “flip-flopped” on immigration.
“Rand Paul began his speech in Spanish and it went downhill from there,” Tancredo wrote in an op-ed titled “Why I No Longer Stand with Rand Paul” in the Christian Post. “His speech was filled with virtually every single discredited pro-amnesty cliché you could imagine.”
On Tuesday, Paul gave a speech to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Washington calling for comprehensive immigration reform, including allowing undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States, work legally, and eventually become citizens. Paul, however, never used the word “citizenship” or “pathway to citizenship” in his address.
Tancredo said he even regretted the contribution he gave to Paul’s campaign. He actually praised Mitt Romney’s “self-deport” stance, saying there are not just two options available: legalization or deporting all 12 million undocumented immigrants.
“The problem is that not one congressman or major commentator has called for deporting all 12 million illegal immigrants,” Tancredo wrote. “Rather, we argue that strict enforcement of employer sanctions and allowing local police to cooperate in immigration enforcement will encourage most illegal to, in Mitt Romney’s words, ‘self-deport.’”
Tancredo, who has spent most of his career calling for stricter immigration enforcement, goes on to write that Paul is “softer” than President Barack Obama on immigration for his proposal.
“Both Obama and the Gang of 8 say that the illegal immigrants must pay a penalty for legal status, while Rand Paul told reporters after his speech he is not ‘not as big a stickler’ on these items, because the illegals would not be able to afford the fines,” Tancredo said.
Paul’s speech this week had a welcoming tone and he peppered his address with Spanish phrases as well as calling Hispanic voters “natural” Republicans, something the RNC also said this week in their “autopsy report,” which pledged to open up the party to more Hispanic voters and use more welcoming language. Tancredo doesn’t believe it.
“Rand Paul said that the only reason why the GOP is losing the Hispanic vote is because we have turned them off with ‘harsh rhetoric over immigration,’ Tancredo writes. “Paul doesn’t give a single example of what that ‘harsh rhetoric’ was. Presumably it could have included his pre-flip flop position on immigration.”
Tancredo goes on to call Paul a RINO (Republican in Name Only) and “just another politician” saying he doubts “the grassroots conservatives who elected Rand to Senate and whose support he expects if he runs for president in 2016 feel the same.”
“When I endorsed Rand Paul, I did not expect to agree with him on every issue,” Tancredo wrote. “I respect people with strongly held beliefs regardless of what they are. Most importantly, I felt that I could trust him to maintain his campaign promises. I was wrong. Oh how I long for a Republican leader who exhibits true courage and integrity. That’s the stuff leaders are made of.”
During his time in Congress, Tancredo tried to establish English as the official national language, as well as many other legislative efforts to try and restrict immigration. He left Congress in 2009 after making a failed bid for the GOP presidential nomination in 2008, where he also focused on immigration.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Eric Bradner, Shimon Prokupecz and Dan Merica, CNN
Stephen Collinson, CNN
Sarah Anderson, Deseret News