Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., says he was speaking only partly tongue-in-cheek when he suggested President Obama send five Democrats, including Secretary of State John Kerry, former Sen. Hillary Clinton and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to Mexico in exchange for a U.S. Marine jailed there.
Paul was at the Texas Republican Convention Friday when he expressed his concern over Obama's decision, without informing Congress, to trade five of the top Taliban commanders detained at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for a U.S. soldier held by a Taliban affiliate in Afghanistan.
The Taliban commanders were cabinet-level-type executives from the period when the Taliban ran Afghanistan. Although they are supposed to be sequestered in Qatar for a year, they apparently have no restrictions within the country.
Obama himself admitted they could end up plotting terror attacks against the United States in the future.
They were traded for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was held by a Taliban affiliate for five years after he left his platoon. Bergdahl has come under criticism by fellow soldiers who say he walked off his assignment without permission and may have even taken up arms for America's enemy there.
Paul told the Texas convention that when he arrived at the hotel the previous night, a delegate told him the Marine who accidentally carried his guns into Mexico is deserving of being brought home.
"So here's what I'm thinking, Mr. President. You love to trade people. Why don't we set up a trade, but this time instead of five Taliban how about five Democrats? I'm thinking John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi. Couldn't we send 'em to Mexico?"
The Marine in Mexico is Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, 25, who reported he inadvertently drove into Mexico while carried legal guns in his vehicle.
The weapons, however, are illegal in Mexico, and he's been jailed there for several months as his case begins to move through the Mexican court system.
According to a Politico report about Paul's address, it was the latest criticism from him about the White House strategy to bring home Bergdahl.
Paul said releasing five Taliban senior officials is "illegal and wrong, and [Obama] should never have done it."
The report said Paul was asked in a news conference about his comments at the Texas convention.
Paul said: "It was a joke. Except for Nancy Pelosi. I was serious about her. ... It was meant to be humorous."