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

The Kentucky senator is interviewed on "This Week."
15:44 | 02/19/17

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Transcript for Paul dismisses McCain's criticisms of Trump: We're 'lucky John McCain is not in charge'
Let's bring in Republican senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. Senator Paul, thank you for joining us. I want to start with what the president said. Fine-tuned machine. Over this first month. Is that what you're seeing? Well, you know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And, from where I sit, we have done a lot of good things. Repealed regulations for the first time in 20 years. Using the congressional review act. Three regulations that were going to cost the economy hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of jobs. That is big progress. We're on schedule to repeal Obama kair, big progress. His cabinet picks, from a conservative point of view, have exceed my expectations. I think we'll do conservative things. Supreme court justice, somebody I could have picked. I'm very pleased with where we are. Some of the chaos theory stems from the president's words. I want to play something he said last night at his rally. You look at what is happening last night in Sweden. Sweden. Who would believe this? Sweden. They took in large numbers, they're having problems like they never thought possible. Now that was in a riff where he was talking about terror attacks. So we scrubbed the -- the records, scrubbed news reports out of Sweden. Do you have any idea what he was talking about? Well, I think there have been some altercations. There was a new year's eve altercation a year ago wra quite a few things were happening that did involve the refugee populations. I believe that was in Sweden. Think anybody that thinks it has been seamless and no bumps in the road in Germany with allowing a million people to come in, I think there have been problems. There are legitimate concern that get sloughed over here. For example, World War I, world War II, immigration came to a grinding halt in our country during these wars. If someone wants to come from aleppo tomorrow, how do you know who they are? There is almost nothing left in aleppo. I don't know that there is paperwork. I don't know that you can ask people in Syria, where there is a dysfunctional government, to give you legitimate paperwork on people. It's very difficult to yet people from there, Yemen, Sudan. All the places engaged in war. Those are legitimate concerns. But senator, I'm asking you about what the president said at his rally. What is happening last night in Sweden. We heard from the former prime minister of Sweden who tweeted, Sweden? Terror attack? Hat has he been smoking? Questions abound. Isn't there a point of credibility? I mean, we heard the president in the press conference say he had the biggest electoral win since Reagan. It's not even close. Isn't there a credibility question? You know, I think there are -- there are other people that have looked at it and say there are two levels you can analyze this administration on. One, words and Twitter. Another on actions. I opened the look at the actions. And like I say, I have my quibbles here and there with things that are said. And yet, I'm really pleased that we repealed a regulation that was going to be very, very damaging to my state. The regulation, I went to the white house this week to see him sign, the repeal would have cost 77,000 jobs in the coal industry. So I'm very, very happy. That would have never happened probably under half a dozen other Republican nominees. So, I mean, not everyone is perfect. But I think there's a lot of good things. We E shouldn't lose sight of the good things from the conservative point of view in Washington. I want to play something you said a year ago January. Now, obviously, at this point, you were running against Donald Trump. So you were in a different position. I want to play something you said on the nightly show are Larry whitmor. What worries me most other than the crazy things is that I believe he wants power and I believe from my point of view that power corrupts. And that the whole purpose of our founding fathers and the country was to contain power. So when you listen to the press conference on Thursday, and when you hear his attacks on the judiciary. And you hear his attacks on the press, do you still have any of those concerns? You know, I have a great deal of concern for any president and the amount of power they accumulate versus congress. I'm a stickler about the idea of separation of powers. When you go back to James Madison, he said we would pit ambition against ambition to try to check and keep things in balance, I think that's incredibly important. I think all presidents have tried to gain too much power. This is more about the words and the personality of president trump. I was very, very concerned about president Obama and how much executive order and power he tried to exert. I think I want to be, and I think congress will be a check on any executive, Republican or Democrat, that tries to grasp too much power. And really, a lot of the fault is not only president's trying to take too much power. It's congress giving up too much power. We write only skeletons of bills, sort of outlines of bills. Even Obama care was an outline. 2700-page outline. We sent it up there. The rest of it is written by bureaucrats. A permanent bureaucratic state. Yes, there always has to be a pushback. I think a great deal more from congress on any president. Not just this president. Probably 100 years worth of presidents have been yusurping too much power. I think you're second to none in the senate when fighting for civil liberties. Let me ask you about what he's saying about the press. The news media is the enemy of the American people. Do you agree with that? It's not something that I would say. I would say that there is bias. I think it's fair to point out that there is bias in the media. On both sides. Both right and left. And that it's very hard to find objective news because we have gone T, particularly as you watch cable news, it's so dominated by opinion. We're polarized. Some comes from the people and some from the media. I don't see in his criticism, somehow, people think the separation of powers means that the president can't criticize the judiciary. It has nothing to do with that. It's political sensibilities. It has nothing to do with the constitution or separation of powers. We don't like it. The separation of powers is about legislative powers. Not discussion or words. I would separate, once again, words from legislative action. If someone trying to put limits on the press, I'll be the first one standing up for the right of press left and right to continue saying and being part of the discussion and forwarding the discussion. What would you make of mcca McCain's statement that we're creeping towards a situation where people are potentially supportive of dick territoriship in this country? Is that over the top? Or is this concern? I think senator McCain's perspective is colored by his disagreements with president trump on foreign policy. If I were to look at foreign policy, I would say John McCain's been wrong on just about everything over the last four decades. He advocated iffer the Iraq war, which I think destabilized the Middle East. There's probably six countries where John McCain has advocated for having U.S. Boots on the ground. His complaint is either we're not at war somewhere, or if we're at war, we leave too soon. We're not there soon enough, he wants us to stay forever. Gnat's a foreign policy at odds with president trump. And also the idea of engagement. The idea of foreign policy realism, I think, fits more neatly are president trump. With John McCain, the neo-conservative label of let's make the world safe for democracy hasn't worked. Our intervention to dezab Liz the Assad regime has made the chaos worse in Syria. I would worry about the 2 million Christians protected by Assad. I think it's more foreign policy debate. Trump and McCain are on opposite sides. We need to change. We don't need to continue to have regime change throughout the world. Nation-building. It's expensive. We don't have enough money to rebuild our own country if we're rebuilding enelse's. He said dictators get started by limiting freedom of the press. I imagine you agree with that. Well, the thing is 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 disstingt way. But I see no evidence that anybody is putting forward any kind of legislation to limit the press. I think people, you know, this is colored by John McCain's disagreement with president trump. It all is. Efg he says about the president is colored by his own personal dispute he's got running with president trump. It should be take within a grain of salt. John McCain has advocated for war everywhere. He would bankrupt the nation. We're lucky he's not in charge. I think we would be in perpetual war. I want to turn to the firing of Michael Flynn. One of the candidates that the white house is now talk about as a possible replacement is John Bolton. Now, you adamantly opposed him when he was up for confirmation for another position. Would you have concerns about John Bolton as national security adviser? Yeah, think the problem with John Bolton is he disagrees with president trump's foreign policy. He would be closer to John McCain's foreign policy. He still believes the Iraq war was a good idea. He believes that nation-building is a good idea. I think John Bolton would be much closer to McCain than trump. And I think that his history of sort of acting on his own, my fear is that -- secret wars would be developing around the globe. So no, I think he would be a bad choice. Let's turn to Obamacare. You tweeted in January that the president quote fully supports my plan to replace Obamacare the same day we repeal it. We have heard some mixed signals out of the white house. Are you still confident he fully so supports your plan? Yes, I have discussed this with the vice president. Congressman price. Now secretary price. I think we need to do we peel and replace on the same day. I think we need to do complete repeal. Many people are talking about a partial repeal. If you only repeal part of it and you leave if some sort of Obamacare light, my fear is the situation gets worse. In the insurance markets, we have a downward spiral, adverse selection. Premiums in the individual market going through the roof. People can't afford insurance. Insurance companies are losing hundreds of millions of dollars. If you repeal part of Obamacare. Keep some of the ideas, people can still buy insurance after they're sick. The situation gets extraordinarily worse. What we're seeing now could be tenfold greater if you only repeal part of Obama kacare. About a year ago, we voted to repeal the whole thing. We have toot least do what we did in 2015. We're not into like replacing it with some federal programs. We want to repeal the whole thing and have a replacement that helps to lower insurance costs for everybody. Are you convinced that white house is on board with that? The president said it would be a plan in March but he's also Ta talked about maybe this would take more than a year to unfold. Well, the thing is, is, yes, all of it takes awhile to unfold. Legislatively, we'll repeal Obamacare within the next one or two months. I'm pretty sure of that. There's a debate to repeal the whole thing or whether or not some of the big government Republicans want to keep Obamacare light. The conservatives, we're ready for a fight. The house fee dom caucus says they'll not vote for partial repeal. I'm in the same camp. It has to be the same thing or better than what we voted on in 2015. And so there is going to be a discussion on how much we repeal. I do believe it's reneeld the next one to two months. The replacement part requires the Democrats to help. I don't see help coming from them. We should offer the American public less expensive insurance. We're almost out of time. I want to ask you about something else the president said last night. His flan for instra truck chur. Listen to this. We need members of both parties to join hands and work with us to pass a $1 trillion infrastructure plan to build new roads and bridges and airports and tunnels and highways. And railways. All across our great chasing. Now I know you have a plan that would bring back through repatriation from things overseas that would fund road repair. What is your take on a $1 trillion infrastructure plan? Would you stand up and stop that? I think we have to debate the amount. But I'm for rebuilding our infrastructure. I have a build that would encourage the American profit overseas to come home. There's about $2 trillion overseas. I have a bipartisan bill I would like to present to the president. I'm not for borrowing the money. I'm open to listening to what he has planned. I'm wanting to offer ideas I have for taking the repatriation money and putting it into the road fund. You're not on board with $1 trillion borrowed? We Vo to see how we're going pay for it. It sounds like a number that is so large that would incur more borrowing. I'm not for that. I have pay for. Lowering the tax to bring American profit home. I would put that into the road fund. One final question. I know it's early. Forgive me. The president did have a campaign rally. A reelection campaign rally last night. A headline in "The Lexington herald leader" one of the top papers in your area. Rand Paul in 2020. Do you rule out running against Donald Trump in the Republican primary in 2020? Yeah, I have no intention of doing that. My goal right now is to help him. He's the Republican president. He's doing a lot of things that conservatives are for. I'm for. My goal is to help Kentucky by repealing regulations that are killing our coal industry. On that, we're aligned. We'll ask you that question in a little while.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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