Senator Rand Paul recently published a poll on Twitter asking, “Should the U.S. be selling $1.15 billion in arms to our unreliable ‘ally’ Saudi Arabia?”
Should the US be selling $1.15 billion in arms to our unreliable "ally" Saudi Arabia?— Dr. Rand Paul (@RandPaul) August 10, 2016
This comes on the heels of a State Department announcement that the U.S. will be selling over $1 billion worth of tanks and other weapons to the U.S.’s ally in the Middle East.
The poll concluded with 52,525 votes; 73 percent voted “Yes,” and just 27 percent voted “No.”
Many popular Saudi accounts urged their followers to vote in the poll, which dramatically shifted the results.
There are hundreds of comments on the poll, in both Arabic and English, criticizing Senator Paul. The comments range from insulting Paul’s intelligence, to accusing the U.S. of causing ISIS. One user even accused the United States of being the “source of terrorists,” through its attacks on the Middle East.
Senator Paul has been an outspoken opponent of meddling in the Middle East. In a 2015 “Meet the Press” interview Paul said, “In Saudi Arabia, a woman was gang raped by seven men. She was publicly lashed 90 times. And then she was convicted of being in the car with an unmarried man. We should be voluntarily boycotting a country, not buying stuff from a country that does that to women.”
During his primary campaign, Paul criticized Hillary Clinton and President Obama for supplying weapons to the enemy.
“We continue to sell arms to Saudi Arabia, which continues to be sort of an arsonist in that region, fanning the flames,” he said.