Rand Paul was on ABC’s This Week and Jon Karl brought up the subject of President Trump’s criticism of the press and John McCain’s rather stupid assertion that somehow criticism paves the way for dictatorship.
This is the whole interview. The first part is worth watching just to see Paul tear the hide off McCain on general principle
“Everything that he says about the president is colored by his own personal dispute he has got running with President Trump [over foreign policy], 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 told ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl on “This Week.”
“Actually we’re very lucky John McCain is not in charge because I think we would be in perpetual war,” the Kentucky senator added.
“John McCain has been wrong on just about everything over the last four decades” in foreign policy, Paul said, pointing to the Arizona senator’s support for the war in Iraq and for what Paul sees as “our intervention to destabilize [Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s] regime, which he said “has really made the chaos worse in Syria.”
Then Karl circles back to the subject Paul had sort of evaded, the “enemy of the American people” tweet.
KARL: But just to clarify (I love the rodent-like look Karl gets as he gets instruction from off camera), McCain said specifically that dictators get started by limiting the freedom of the press. I imagine you agree with that.
PAUL: 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, you know, his own distinct way. But I see no evidence that anybody is putting forward any kind of legislation that to limit the press. I think people… This is colored by John McCain’s disagreement with President Trump. It all is. Everything he says about the President is colored by hiw own personal dispute he’s got running with President Trump. And it should be taken with a grain of salt.
It is pretty obvious that Paul has his own axe to grind with McCain and even though I’m somewhat closer to McCain than Paul on foreign policy, McCain does seem to find a new war for us to get into about every other week.
On the whole, though, I think Paul is being charitable. The idea that Trump’s criticism of the press and that that criticism is somehow a threat to the constitution is the worst sort of demagoguery, when mouthed by McCain, and hair-burning hysteria, when repeated by non-politicians.