Sen. Rand Paul on Trump: 'Not everyone is perfect'

Paul sees "big progress" on the conservative agenda under President Trump.

February 19, 2017, 2:08 PM

— -- Sen. Rand Paul said President Trump has made "big progress" on the conservative agenda as the Kentucky Republican came to the defense of a 2016 presidential primary rival he once sharply criticized.

ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl asked Paul on "This Week" on Sunday if he agrees with the president's recent remark that contrary to media reports, the new administration is running like a “fine-tuned machine."

"Well, you know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder," the senator said. "And, from where I sit, we have done a lot of good things."

Paul ticked off accomplishments such as the repeal of a regulation on the coal industry that he said would have been "very, very damaging to my state." He also said the Republicans are "on schedule to repeal Obamacare. Big progress." And, he praised Trump's picks for his Cabinet and the Supreme Court.

"His Cabinet picks, from a conservative point of view, have exceeded my expectations. I think Scott Pruitt is going to be great at EPA. I think we're really going to do some conservative things," Paul said. “I'm actually very, very pleased with where we are."

Karl pressed the Republican senator on Trump's credibility after he seemed to suggest at his campaign rally Saturday that there had been a recent terror attack in Sweden and he falsely claimed at a press conference Thursday that he had the biggest Electoral College win since Reagan.

"Isn't there a credibility question?" Karl asked.

Paul said, "You can analyze this administration" on two levels. "One, words and Twitter, another on actions. And I tend to look at the actions."

"Not everyone is perfect, but I think there's a lot of good things -- and we shouldn't lose sight of the good things from a conservative point of view of what's happening in Washington," Paul said.

As to the Affordable Care Act, Paul said the White House is still on board with his plan: “Legislatively, I think we will repeal Obamacare within the next one to two months."

"There's a debate whether we repeal the whole thing," he said, explaining that "big-government Republicans want to keep 'Obamacare light," by retaining some of the law's provisions.

"The conservatives, we're ready for a fight. The House Freedom Caucus says they will not vote for partial repeal. I'm in the same camp. I'm not voting for partial repeal," Paul said.

The senator, once vaunted for his independent libertarian streak, also addressed speculation that he might be considering challenging Trump in the 2020 Republican presidential primary.

“I have no intention of doing that,” said Paul. “My goal right now is to actually help [Trump]. He's the Republican president. He's doing a lot of things that conservatives are for, [that] I'm for."