Sen. Rand Paul said "big government Republican" Mitt Romney is not helping any cause with his "holier than thou" column that heavily criticized President Trump. Paul shares how he works with Trump despite the cut-throat Republican primary of the last presidential election.
"I don't know how it really helps anybody's cause for people to stand up there like they're holier than thou," Paul told FOX News' Neil Cavuto. "And it's like, look at me, how virtuous I am. And I`m going to bring down the presidency by criticizing his character in front of the whole nation."
"It does nobody any good," he added. "And, in the end, I think it's going to look petty, and I think there's going to be a backlash to this."
Paul said when he has a policy disagreement with Trump he votes against the legislation and still has a "good conversation" with the president, instead of attacking his character or going for the jugular.
"I question him on policy when I disagree with him," Paul said. "He knows I have stood up to him. I have talked to him on the phone and he says, I know where your principles are and I know you can't move on this particular vote. And we still have a good conversation. And I think that's different than attacking and trying to go for the jugular of someone's character. And so I do think it's different."
Paul also warned that Romney would be "wiped out" if he tried to primary Trump in 2020.
"I think that, if there were an election between Donald Trump in a primary and Romney, I think Romney would be wiped out. And people ought to think about, Republicans ought to think about whether or not sort of this big government, let's always be at war everywhere kind of Republican is what we want," he said.
Transcript, via FOX News:
NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS: You obviously let bygones be bygones, and a lot of the personal back and forth between you two ended maybe upon his inauguration. You had said, he is my president, he is everyone`s president.
Obviously, Mitt Romney doesn`t feel the same way. He says he will take on the president when it comes to issues he cares about and commend him and compliment him when he sees things that he likes.
What is it that those two haven`t...
CAVUTO: ... settled that you and the president did?
PAUL: Yes, here`s the problem, though, is, I get along fine with the president.
But I do have policy disagreements. I have not been afraid ever to challenge the president. In fact, if you look at the voting records, I am more independent than any other Republican in the Senate, but yet I keep good relations with the president because I respect the office, I respect the president, Donald Trump, and I try to work with him to try to get good things done for the country and for my state.
So, I don`t know how it really helps anybody`s cause for people to stand up there like they`re holier than thou. And it`s like, look at me, how virtuous I am. And I`m going to bring down the presidency by criticizing his character in front of the whole nation.
It does nobody any good. And, in the end, I think it`s going to look petty, and I think there`s going to be a backlash to this.
CAVUTO: Do you think Governor Romney, now soon-to-be Senator Romney, is phony?
PAUL: Well, I think he`s always been sort of a big government Republican. I think he never liked Reagan. Back in `94, when he ran against Kennedy, he says, oh, I wasn`t a Reagan supporter. I was an independent back when Reagan was running.
He also in the `80s was with the crowd that was worried that Reagan wasn`t hawkish enough. You remember when Reagan started talking to Gorbachev, when we had the beginnings of really 30 years of decent arms control with the Soviet Union? That came from Ronald Reagan. And the hawks hated him for it. In fact, Romney was part of the crowd...
CAVUTO: But Ronald Reagan also said, Senator, everyone should acknowledge the 11th Commandant, that no Republican should speak ill of other Republicans.
PAUL: Yes. Well, I don`t know if Romney got the message.
CAVUTO: Well, did the president get the message talking about other Republicans?
PAUL: You know, the president dishes it out. When he gets it, he doesn`t -- he`s not quiet, he`s not timid. He dishes it right back. And that`s just his personality.
But I think the one thing about it, for everybody that wants to question the president and wants to question his Twitter account...
CAVUTO: I don`t see you doing that. I don`t see you doing that. You might get a little sharp, but I don`t see that.
PAUL: I think there`s plenty of people questioning that.
I question him on policy when I disagree with him. He knows I have stood up to him. I have talked to him on the phone and he says, "I know where your principles are and I know you can`t move on this particular vote."
And we still have a good conversation. And I think that`s different than attacking and trying to go for the jugular of someone`s character. And so I do think it`s different.
CAVUTO: All right. So when you hear this back and forth and Mitt Romney and what he might be doing, some have said he is setting himself up for a presidential run and hoping in the meantime that the president is so politically wounded that he`s ripe for the taking.
Do you agree with that?
PAUL: You know, I sure hope not.
I think that, if there were an election between Donald Trump in a primary and Romney, I think Romney would be wiped out. And people ought to think about, Republicans ought to think about whether or not sort of this big government, let`s always be at war everywhere kind of Republican is what we want.
Donald Trump actually won by being a different kind of Republican, by being a Republican who said, you know what, we`re not going to waste all of America`s taxpayer dollars overseas. It`s time for some of those countries to stand up, pay their fair share and take care of their own people, and we`re not going to keep paying forever.
That was a tremendous breath of fresh air. And that`s what Romney hates about it. Romney`s part of this crowd that wants to send our money forever to all these foreign countries.
CAVUTO: All right.
PAUL: They love foreign aid, and they love war, and they can`t stand that Trump might end a war.
CAVUTO: All right, Senator, good catching up with you. I appreciate it.
PAUL: Thanks, Neil.
CAVUTO: All right.