President Donald Trump heaped praise on Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on Wednesday evening, reiterating his belief that the Kentucky Senator will ultimately support Republican health care reform initiatives.
“I think Rand Paul will be there for us. He was there for me two times before,” presumably referring to Paul’s votes in favor of the ‘skinny repeal’ and ‘partial repeal’ amendments during the previous Obamacare repeal effort in July.
“I like Rand Paul a lot and I think he’ll be there for me,” Trump continued. “He’s a good guy and he wants what’s good also for the party. I think Rand will be there.”
Trump’s remarks were made in response to reporters immediately after his return from Indianapolis, where he had delivered a speech outlining his administration’s proposals on tax reform.
Earlier that day, Trump had announced his intention to sign Paul’s “Associated Health Plans” proposal, which would be carried out via executive action.
Sen. Paul has emerged as a close confidant of the President in recent months, with Trump and Paul frequently publicly praising one another. In particular, Paul has strongly defended the President against false allegations of collusion with Russia. In turn, Paul has subsequently sought to use their rapport to advance his libertarian foreign policy views, appealing to the ‘America First’ sentiments that embodied Trump’s campaign in order to block the appointment of neoconservatives such as Elliott Abrams to positions within the administration.
However, Paul has been critical of various administration-backed Obamacare repeal proposals, such as the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and the Graham-Cassidy reform, both of which he has stated he could not support without significant legislative concessions. This has brought him into conflict with the President, who is determined to pass a bill in order to deliver on his campaign promise to repeal and replace Obamacare. However, it appears that these disagreements have not led to any substantive personal dispute between the two men, with Trump personally leading efforts to win Paul over.