Rand Paul: We’re very lucky John McCain’s not in charge

Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulSenate gears up for fight on Trump's 0B Saudi Arabia arms sale Paul: 0B Saudi arms deal ‘a travesty’ Senate feels pressure for summer healthcare vote MORE (Ky.) ripped fellow Republican Sen. John McCainJohn McCainArmed Services chairman unveils .1B Asia-Pacific security bill Overnight Defense: Trump scolds NATO allies over spending | Flurry of leaks worries allies | Senators rip B Army 'debacle' | Lawmakers demand hearing on Saudi arms deal The case for protecting America's intelligence agency whistleblowers MORE (Ariz.) on Sunday after McCain criticized President Trump’s escalating war of words with the media.

He argued that the nation is “very lucky” that Trump is president and not McCain, who won the 2008 GOP nomination but lost to Barack ObamaBarack ObamaObama visits Prince Harry at Kensington Palace White House to share info on ethics waivers White House considering vetting Trump’s tweets: report MORE in the general election.

Paul said that McCain’s recent criticisms of Trump are driven by his “personal dispute” with the president over foreign policy.

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He added that McCain and Trump are at odds because McCain supports the wide deployment of U.S. troops to protect and promote American interests abroad while he characterized Trump’s views as closer to a realpolitik approach to foreign policy.

“Everything that he says about the president is colored by his own personal dispute he’s got running with President Trump, and it should be taken with a grain of salt, because John McCain’s the guy who’s advocated for war everywhere,” Paul said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“He would bankrupt the nation. We’re very lucky John McCain’s not in charge, because I think we’d be in perpetual war,” Paul added.

McCain in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” warned that the suppression of a free press can lead to a dictatorial regime. He made the comments after Trump tweeted on Friday that the media is “the enemy of the American people.”

McCain has also harshly criticized Trump’s expressed respect for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his suggestion earlier this month that the United States does not have the moral authority to criticize Russia’s human rights record.

Paul said there has no effort by the Trump administration to suppress the media, noting that no legislation has been offered to curb press freedoms.

Paul argued that McCain has a history of being wrong major foreign policy questions.

“I would say John McCain’s been wrong on just about everything over the last four decades. He advocated for the Iraq War, which I think destabilized the Middle East,” he said.

“If you look at the map, there’s probably at least six different countries where John McCain has advocated for us having boots on the ground,” he added.