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Rand Paul slams McCain: US ‘lucky’ he’s ‘not in charge’

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Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul (Image source: ABC News)

Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) is pulling no punches in his criticism of fellow Republican Sen. John McCain (Ariz.).

"We're lucky John McCain's not in charge," Paul said on ABC News' "This Week" after the Arizona senator criticized President Donald Trump over the weekend for his attitude toward the news media.

"Everything that he says about the president is colored by his own personal dispute he's got running with President Trump," Paul continued, "and it should be taken with a grain of salt, because John McCain's the guy who's advocated for war everywhere."

It is no surprise that Paul, who favors less U.S. intervention around the world, and McCain, who is known on Capitol Hill as a war hawk, disagree on foreign policy. If McCain were president, Paul said, the U.S. would "be in perpetual war."

"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.

McCain, like many Republicans, was a supporter of the Iraq War. Paul claimed McCain has "been wrong about everything over the past four decades."

The Kentucky senator's criticism came after McCain, in an interview with NBC News' Chuck Todd, warned that attacks against the press is "how dictators get started."

"In other words, a consolidation of power, when you look at history, the first thing that dictators do is shut down the press," McCain told the "Meet the Press" host. "And I'm not saying that President Trump is trying to be a dictator, I'm just saying we need to learn the lessons of history."

Paul warned McCain against exaggerating the issue too much, arguing the president is simply voicing his opinion about media coverage of his administration. "I haven't seen any legislation coming forward that wants to limit the press," he said.

In addition, Paul doesn't believe McCain's attack on the president is really about press freedom. Rather, he thinks all of this is about foreign policy differences between Trump and McCain, who are — in his view — on "opposite sides of that debate."

"I tend to sympathize more with the president," Paul noted. "We don't need to continue to have regime change throughout the world, nation-building."

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