"Sen. Rand Paul considers President Trump a personal friend; they had a great time playing today," Paul's spokesperson Sergio Gor told reporters after the senator's golf outing with the president.
The two have become something of an odd couple in Washington — a far cry from the time Trump tweeted that Paul was "truly weird" and a "spoiled brat without a properly functioning brain," and when Paul called Trump an "orange-faced windbag."
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Last week, Paul stood behind the president as he signed an executive health care orderthat would dramatically undermine the Affordable Care Act's marketplaces. He told CNN's Jake Tapper that Trump's order is "creating something that is freedom."
Paul, a Tea Party firebrand from Kentucky, is known among congressional Republicans for his affinity for giving Republican leadership a hard time — which might be why Trump has taken a liking to him. And Paul reportedly listens to Trump's rambling phone calls.
"The president never loses, didn't you know?" Paul told reporters over the weekend, schmoozing about Trump's golfing talents. "The president and his partner beat myself and my partner by three holes. He's a little better golfer than I am, admittedly, but we had a good time."
If Paul is right about his game, Trump seems to be a better golfer than he is a legislator. He hasn't notched a single Republican-led legislative win this year. The Obamacare repeal-and-replace effort flopped. Tax reform, the GOP's next major agenda item, already looks mired in difficult negotiations.
Paul is far from a helping hand on Capitol Hill. Rather, he's repeatedly exacerbated many of the divides within the Republicans Party — and is signaling he will do the same on tax reform.