Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton refused on Monday to respond to criticism from Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) about him potentially being picked to serve as a top official in the State Department but said he would push back against the senator's comments if he is nominated by President-elect Donald Trump.
Steve Doocy, co-host of Fox & Friends, asked about Paul's announcement over the weekend that he would not vote for Bolton if Trump nominates him to serve in the State Department as a senior official.
Paul said Sunday that Bolton "should get nowhere close to the State Department if anybody with a sane worldview is in charge" because he "still believes in regime change" and "has such a naive understanding of the world."
Doocy described the Kentucky lawmaker as having "a bee in his bonnet over" the possibility of Bolton winding up with a top position at the State Department.
"One of the conventions of the nomination process is you are not supposed to speak before your Senate hearing," Bolton said of Paul's recent criticism. "There's a lot to say about that convention, but I'm old-fashioned so I'll follow it at least for now."
"I'll have something to say on the subject to Senator Paul at an appropriate time," Bolton added.
Reports emerged over the weekend that Trump is leaning towards picking Bolton to the No. 2 position at the State Department as deputy secretary of State, with Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson serving as secretary of State.
Paul sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where he is one of 19 senators who would vote on Bolton's nomination before he faces a full Senate vote.
Paul has been a boisterous critic of Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. under President George W. Bush, and his support for the Iraq War. Bolton also served as the undersecretary of State for arms control and international security from 2001 to 2005.
Bolton defended his position on the Iraq War to Fox & Friends.
"I was a member of the George W. Bush administration. He supported the Iraq War. Of course I supported the Iraq War. I put it out on the record. I've never hidden my views from anybody, and I absolutely don't back away from them," Bolton said.
Trump is expected to announce his official decision on the secretary of State position later this week.