Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) questioned President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama for wanting their children to have minimum wage jobs, telling a crowd of Silicon Valley Republicans that he has "opposite" hopes for his own sons.
Speaking at San Francisco's Reboot conference Saturday, Paul criticized the Obamas for wanting their teenage daughters, Malia and Sasha, to experience minimum wage work.
“The minimum wage is a temporary [thing]," Paul said, according to Politico. “It’s a chance to get started. I see my son come home with his tips. And he’s got cash in his hand and he’s proud of himself. I don’t want him to stop there. But he’s working and he’s understanding the value of work. We shouldn’t disparage that.”
Paul's remarks came in response to an interview the Obamas gave to Parade Magazine in June, during which the president and first lady described their own experiences with minimum wage work.
"I think every kid needs to get a taste of what it’s like to do that real hard work," Michelle Obama said when asked if she wants her daughters to get similar work experience.
"We are looking for opportunities for them to feel as if going to work and getting a paycheck is not always fun, not always stimulating, not always fair," the president added. "But that’s what most folks go through every single day."
Paul, who has been a somewhat frequent visitor to Silicon Valley in recent months, also knocked the president as unfriendly to the tech industry and questioned the logic of Bay Area residents voting Democratic.
“I come out here and people say, ‘We loved President Obama, you know. We’re all for President Obama. We’re from the tech community,’” Paul said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Why? Why would you be? He’s not for innovation. He’s not for freedom. He’s for the protectionism crowd. You know he’s for the crowd that would limit the activities of these companies.”
He also urged tech executives to take a stand against the National Security Agency's controversial surveillance tactics, pressing Silicon Valley leaders to "pledge that they will fight tooth and nail against the government" in favor of civil liberties.
"If someday the public thinks that Gmail equals government mail, and you're not being protected, the backlash will not only be against government - it will be against private entities," Paul warned, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.