Paul dismisses McCain’s criticisms of Trump: We're 'lucky John McCain is not in charge'

Paul said McCain's criticisms of Trump stem from foreign policy differences.

ByABC News
February 19, 2017, 11:49 AM

— -- Republican Sen. Rand Paul blasted Sen. John McCain over his criticism of President Trump, saying the nation is "lucky" the Arizona senator is not president considering his foreign policy views.

"Everything that he says about the president is colored by his own personal dispute he has got running with President Trump [over foreign policy], and it should be taken with a grain of salt because John McCain is the guy that has advocated for war everywhere. He would bankrupt the nation," Paul told ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl on "This Week."

“Actually we're very lucky John McCain is not in charge because I think we would be in perpetual war,” the Kentucky senator added.

McCain, who was the GOP nominee for president in 2008, has been critical of Trump on several issues, and slammed him this weekend for labeling the press "an enemy of the American people."

"The first thing that dictators do is shut down the press," McCain said in an interview with NBC News. "And I'm not saying that President Trump is trying to be a dictator. I'm just saying we need to learn the lessons of history."

Paul told Karl, "I think it's more a foreign policy debate, and Trump and McCain are on opposite sides of that debate. And I tend to sympathize more with the president. We don't need to continue to have regime change throughout the world, nation-building.”

"John McCain has been wrong on just about everything over the last four decades” in foreign policy, Paul said, pointing to the Arizona senator’s support for the war in Iraq and for what Paul sees as “our intervention to destabilize [Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's] regime, which he said "has really made the chaos worse in Syria."

When Karl pressed Paul specifically about McCain’s remark on dictators and the press, Paul continued to defend the president, “I don't agree with his analysis and applying that to the president. I haven't seen any legislation coming forward that wants to limit the press. I see President Trump expressing his opinion, rather forceful in his own -- you know, his own distinct way."

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