Rand Paul

Rand Paul Downplays His Influence on President Trump

When it comes to foreign policy and criminal justice reform, Paul claims that "it's not so much me pushing [Trump] in one direction as that we see eye-to-eye."


In a phone press conference today dedicated to decrying new Utah Sen. Mitt Romney's op-ed attacking President Donald Trump's character, Sen. Rand Paul (R–Ky.) also downplayed reports that he, Paul, was a prime influence on some of Trump's policies.


"I look at it slightly differently," Paul said. "It's not so much me influencing him as that I tend to agree with his policies." When it comes to Paul's credited influence on Trump's stated desire to unwind aspects of American military involvement overseas, the senator said, Trump "expressed himself the same way throughout his campaign."

Paul also refused to identify himself as a prime influence when it comes to criminal justice reform, arguing that both presidential advisor/son-in-law Jared Kushner and Trump himself believe that "people have been unfairly in prison for decade after decade, many of them minorities, and we need to have a better way," again declaring that "it's not so much me pushing [Trump] in one direction as that we see eye-to-eye" on those policies.

As for Romney, Paul argues that for senators in the president's own party to attack Trump's character is "not useful" and can harm "any ability to work together in the Senate to get things done." While stating that he, Paul, according to his voting record has "opposed the president more than any other Republican in the Senate" (and singling out tariffs as a prime area of disagreement with Trump), he believes other senators should emulate him in treating Trump "with dignity and with respect."

When a questioner confronted him with Trump's tendency to insult and name-call, Paul said that while he doesn't want to say "I give the president a pass" on such behavior, he thinks it is "more important to look at what we have in common, policy-wise, legislation-wise, what we can get accomplished" and that it doesn't "serve any purpose other than gratifying oneself to criticize the president's character."

Paul says politics should be the art of looking for agreement, and that—unlike differences on policy, where common ground can be found on other issues and opinions can shift—"disagreement on character is not fixable" and "if you say someone has terrible character, you can't say next week their character has changed."

Paul said he doesn't think many other senators agree with Romney's critiques of Trump, which Paul wrote off as unproductive "virtue signaling." Paul stressed how much the president campaigned for and helped other Republican senators, and compared the Never-Trump movement that he sees Romney as identifying himself with to the hawkish neocons who also attacked Ronald Reagan for negotiating with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

Paul suggests it would be more productive for Republicans in the legislature to focus on the parts of Trump's policies he sees as positive, such as tax cuts, criminal justice reform, regulatory reform, and Supreme Court justices who are "libertarian-leaning and conservative."

Asked about the possibility that Romney intends to run against Trump in 2020, Paul pointed out that Trump was able to win some states, such as Michigan and Pennsylvania, that Romney was not. (Romney did, however, get a larger percentage of the national popular vote in 2012, at 47.2 percent, than Trump did in 2016, with 46.1 percent.) Paul wrote off Romney in general as standing for a sort of "establishment big government Republicanism" that is "not popular enough to win a general election."

NEXT: Are We About to See a Wave of Police Using 'Victim's Rights' Laws to Keep Conduct Secret?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Trump’s not a weak person if he gets advice and help from others. A few heads can be better than one, and we need checks and balances…

  2. Pragmatism is such an ugly color on a senator in Trump’s America.

    1. If you had worked with Hitler to save the lives of jews, remember that you still worked with Hitler.


      1. So Rand is Gaius Baltar?

        1. he wishes.

      2. Flashing back to Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Jury Garland, Richard Widmark and Willy Shatner in “Judgment at Nuremberg,” are we?

  3. >>>doesn’t “serve any purpose other than gratifying oneself to criticize the president’s character.”

    barely serves a purpose other than gratifying oneself to be a senator

  4. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Romney is such a high-minded individual that he goes about hurling insults against others much like Trump. He’s still pissed that a Black man beat his White ass as he apparently thought that the Presidency would be handed to him on a platter. Sorry Mitt, guess your underwear failed you, or was it that you were just a lazy rich bum. Shut up and go home.

    1. Do we really all have to pick a side in this fight between two male chimps trying to rip each others’ balls off?

      1. No, bitch.
        Sit your eunuch, unfunny, try-way-too-hard ass on the sidelines and shut the fuck up.

        1. Well, you are starting the year off all grumpy. Did you have a fight with your mom, and now gotta sleep outside the trailer in your Trans Am?

          1. I’m not grumpy, I just dislike and have absolutely not one shred of respect for you.
            You’re contemptible. That’s it.
            You constantly shit up threads begging for attention and approval, making “jokes” – but you’re completely witless.
            You come here to put your lack of ideas and existential insecurity on full display.
            I find that pathetic.
            Your attempt at a rebuttal was unoriginal, uninspiring, and without insight.
            Now go cry in the corner, bitch.

      2. Did You just write chimp to a post that referred to a Black man? Do I have that correct? Shall I sic the twiiter rage boys on you?

      3. I gots two dolla sez the Orangutan castrates the Bonono in two rounds!

  5. Look at Rand, learning to play politics by fluffing Trump’s ego while simultaneously distancing himself from a controversial President. Well played.

    1. Paul pointed out that Trump was able to win some states, such as Michigan and Pennsylvania, that Romney was not. (Romney did, however, get a larger percentage of the national popular vote in 2012, at 47.2 percent, than Trump did in 2016, with 46.1 percent.)

      So, is this a sly way of saying Hillary was more electable than Trump? I mean, is there any reason why the popular vote is particularly useful to suss out what the electoral college result will be?

  6. Gee what a shocker. Rand Paul selling out to Trumpism. It’s only a matter of time now before he starts wearing one of those red hats.

    1. 6 more years!

    2. In chemjeff’s world, pulling troops out of Syria and Afghanistan is “selling out to Trumpism”.

    3. I don’t understand. Is influencing the President toward more liberty and peace-oriented decisions “selling out to Trumpism”? What the heck is “Trumpism” anyway?

  7. I may seriously change my party status to independent if Rand Paul (or someone in his mold) doesn’t win a single state in the GOP primary 2024.

  8. Randal, like Trump pretends to like Libertarianism, and also gives lip service to Medieval papists, cult Mittwit and snake-juggling televangelist demands for SEVEN different Constitutional Amendments to overturn the LP’s Roe v Wade victory and force American women to travel to Canada for medical birth control. Sending men with guns to threaten doctors and girls is a GOOD thing since when? Far easier to move to Puerto Rico, where legally and technologically it’s still 1873.

    1. WTF does abortion have to do with any of this? How does a supreme court that just makes shit up help restrain leviathan?

    2. Every so often Hank does these mad stream of consciousness posts that are pretty amusing. I guess he just hits the peace pipe pretty hard then goes all Ginsburg when his wife goes out to bridge club on a Wednesday evening.

  9. Romney only punks himself with his “character” attack on Trump.

    How many times has Romney kissed up to Trump when he wanted something from him?

    2012, Secretary of State, his recent run for Senator. After kissing up, he always goes back to attacking when he no longer needs something from Trump.

    It’s all about power for the globalist deep state uniparty. He’s the Republican Hillary, except that he chose to take his carpetbag to Utah instead of New York, and his job is to make sure Republicans lose as long as they uniparty doesn’t rule it.

    Republicans should remember: Never NeverTrump.

  10. It’s all about power for the globalist deep state uniparty. He’s the Republican Hillary, except that he chose to take his carpetbag to Utah instead of New York.

    I also think there is very little difference policy-wise between Mitt and Hillary-both are globalist-statists. Of course, Mormons were perhaps the original globalists, so at least Mitt comes by it honestly.

  11. I essentially started three weeks past and that i makes $385 benefit $135 to $a hundred and fifty consistently simply by working at the internet from domestic. I made ina long term! “a great deal obliged to you for giving American explicit this remarkable opportunity to earn more money from domestic. This in addition coins has adjusted my lifestyles in such quite a few manners by which, supply you!”. go to this website online domestic media tech tab for extra element thank you……

  12. this post is well

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.