Jonathan Swan and Stef W. Kight have an important essay out at Axios, How Rand Paul Became the Trump Whisperer., which discusses the Rand -Trump relationship. It supports my view that I echoed back in September that Rand has Trump's ear.
Donald Trump should hate Rand Paul.I have said this before, I think it is becasue Rand treats Trump with respect and listens to his comments and doesn't appear to be maneuvering Trump for some short-term gain, as most others around Trump do. In turn, Rand gets to sneak in a bit of libertarian perspective.
The Kentucky senator has opposed the president on just about everything; from the first GOP budget to tax reform to Syria strikes to Trump's Saudi Arabian arms deal to his Afghanistan policy to the debt ceiling and hurricane funding to multiple attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. They could hardly disagree more. And Paul has stymied Trump's agenda at every turn — voting against the president's ACA replacement and fighting his beloved CIA director.
But the two men have cemented one of the stranger relationships of
the Trump reign. Based on a half dozen sources with front row seats to the odd couple, the enemy (Paul) of a bigger enemy (McConnell) can become one of Trump's few Senate friends.
More from the article:
A source close to Trump puts it this way: "They'll talk on the phone and Trump will go on about Bedminster and golf and whatever else is going on; and Rand will drop in his libertarian ideas. And Trump will laugh and say, 'This guy's crazy. He doesn't care about anything. Doesn't care about Mitch. Doesn't care about anybody.' They won't even argue. He'll let him speak his mind."
I wrote this back in September:
[T]here is no name calling of Rand by Trump. He even states that Rand is a friend. Trump doesn't treat anyone else with such courtesy.-RW
I think it is because Trump knows that Rand treats him with respect and just argues the issues rather than being a crony opportunist like other Senators and House members.
It reminds me in some ways of the great economic policymaker Ludwig Erhard who could stick to principle toe-to-toe with anyone but still maintain the respect of his opposition. (SEE: The Greatest Economic Policymaker Ever)