Sen. Rand Paul: ‘The Senate should apologize to Apple’

FORTUNE — In subcommittee hearings Tuesday, Senators Carl Levin and John McCain were careful to balance praise for Apple’s (AAPL) achievements with outrage over its “convoluted and pernicious” (McCain’s words) tax avoidance strategies.

Sen. Rand Paul showed no such balance. He lit into his own committee’s leadership for “dragging” one of America’s great success stories into what he called a “show trial.”

“I’m offended by the tone of these hearings,” he said, with some heat. “Tell me what Apple has done that’s illegal. If anyone should be on trial here it’s Congress. The Senate should apologize to Apple.”

Sen. Levin, with comparable heat, told Sen. Paul he could apologize to Apple if he wanted, but that was not the purpose of the subcommittee hearings.

Paul, not content to let it lie there, began tweeting:

  • @SenRandPaul: Instead of examining our broken tax system, the US Senate is about to harass Apple-one of the greatest business success stories in history.
  • @SenRandPaul: I am offended by a $4 trillion government bullying, berating and badgering one of America’s greatest success stories.
  • @SenRandPaul: To US Senate: I say, instead of Apple executives, you should have brought in a giant mirror if you want to see who is responsible.
  • @SenRandPaul: Instead of doing the right thing we drag businessmen and women in here to berate them for trying to maximize their profits for shareholders.
  • @SenRandPaulApple has done more to enrich people’s lives than politicians will ever do.
  • @SenRandPaul: To the Apple executives here, I apologize for this theater of the absurd.
  • @SenRandPaulIf you want to chase companies like Apple away, continue to vilify them. Congress should be giving Apple an award today.
  • @SenRandPaulIt’s absurd for Congress to vilify businesses like Apple for wanting to minimize their tax code just like every other American rightly does.
  • @SenRandPaulThe Senate hauled before a committee one of America’s greatest success stories—and wanted what? Applause?

More as they come in.

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