Virginia senator Tim Kaine, a Democrat, told CNN's Soledad O'Brien Thursday morning that a fellow senator's recently announced effort to "nullify" Barack Obama's executive actions on gun control is a "code word."
When asked about Kentucky Republican Rand Paul's pledge to nullify the president's actions, Kaine said, "Nullification is a code word." O'Brien asked Kaine to explain what he meant by that.
"It’s a states right argument that gets used in times of great controversy," Kaine said. "The president is acting by executive power that is legally conferred on him. And as you pointed out, you went over these executive orders. They’re basic, common sense things mostly geared around information."
O'Brien tried again to clarify. "Right, but when you say nullify is a 'code word,' usually there's some end game to the code," she said. "So what's being said?"
"We’ll see what it is," Kaine said. "But the notion that we’re going to nullify a presidential action when the President is acting pursuant to law, you know, that’s just kind of this anti-government rhetoric that I’m surprised to hear somebody in government using." Watch the video below:
Paul, the first-term Kentucky senator who may have presidential ambitions, told Fox News host Sean Hannity Wednesday night that he would look into nullifying "anything the president does that smacks of legislation."
After explaining his belief that President Obama may have overreached executive authority, Paul argued that Obama would not be able to pass meaningful gun control legislation through Congress. “I think there are a few Democrats that will worry about going home to West Virginia or other states like that and voting for a ban on guns,” he said. “So, I think there is a good chance we can stop his legislative action. I’m concerned he will try to do the regulatory fiat, what he can’t pass through legislation."