On ABC’s “This Week,” host Jonathan Karl referred to Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona who said in Germany last week that America, under President Trump, appears to be heading towards “towards a situation where people are potentially supportive of dictatorship.” He asked, “Is that over the top or is there a concern?”
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) replied evenly, “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 recalled that McCain supported the Iraq War, which “destabilized the Middle East.” He added, “If you look at the map, there's probably at least six different countries where John McCain has advocated for having U.S. boots on the ground.
“John McCain’s complaint is we’re either not at war somewhere, or if we're at war, we leave too soon. So we're not there soon enough, and he wants us to stay forever wherever we send troops.”
“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.”
“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.
“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.
In a speech at the Munich Security Conference, McCain said last week, “this administration is in disarray.” McCain said, "I think that the Flynn issue obviously is something that shows that in many respects this administration is in disarray and they've got a lot of work to do." Echoing the accusations heard among Germany’s Christian Democrats and leftists in the US, McCain said also, "[The founders of the Munich conference] would be alarmed by an increasing turn away from universal values and toward old ties of blood and race and sectarianism.” He added, “They would be alarmed by the hardening resentment we see towards immigrants and refugees and minority groups -- especially Muslims.” And, “They would be alarmed by the growing inability -- and even unwillingness -- to separate truth from lies.”
Rand pointed out how the policy of the Obama administration to destabilize the government of Bashr Assad in Syria has made the situation worse. “And if you were to get rid of Assad today, I would actually worry about the 2 million Christians that are protected by Assad,” said Paul.
“So 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 that we need to change. We don't need to continue to have regime change throughout the world, nation-building.”
Moreover, said Paul, "We're very lucky John McCain is not in charge."