In an appearance on ABC News’ “This Week,” Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul lambasted fellow Sen. John McCain, saying the country is “very lucky” that McCain isn’t in the Oval Office and indicating he believed McCain’s complaints about President Donald Trump stemmed from a disagreement over military policy.
According to NBC News, the Arizona senator had caused controversy when he said that suppressing press coverage “is how dictators get started,” implying that Trump’s war of words with the media over its biased coverage of his young administration was akin to the kind of censorship practiced in totalitarian societies.
When asked about McCain’s remarks during his appearance Sunday appearance on “This Week,” Paul said McCain’s animus toward Trump was based on McCain’s disagreement with Trump’s non-interventionist policy in places like Syria.
“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 has been wrong on just about everything over the last four decades,” Paul said.
“John McCain’s complaint is we’re either not at war somewhere, or if we’re at war, we leave too soon … So that’s a foreign policy that is at odds with President Trump, and also the idea of engagement. The idea of foreign policy realism, I think, fits more neatly with President Trump.
“And with John McCain, the neoconservative label of ‘let’s make the world safe for democracy and we’re going to topple every regime’ hasn’t worked,” Paul continued. “I mean, our intervention to destabilize the Assad regime has really made the chaos worse in Syria. And if you were to get rid of Assad today, I would actually worry about the two million Christians that are protected by Assad.”
When asked by host Jonathan Karl about McCain’s specific statement involving press freedom, Paul said that was off base, too.
“I don’t agree with his analysis and applying that to the president,” he said. “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.”
Paul even said McCain wants the United States involved in “perpetual war” — essentially branding a fellow Republican a warmonger.
“Everything that he says about the president is colored by his own personal dispute he has got running with President Trump. 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 continued. “And actually we’re very lucky John McCain is not in charge because I think we would be in perpetual war.”
Given that Rand Paul has never been Trump’s biggest booster, it’s a surprising stand for the president against one of his most vigorous antagonists from the right. We’ll keep you posted.
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H/T The Hill