Dan Patrick’s Alliance With Trump Gets Tighter Amid Border Wall Impasse

As President Donald Trump’s inner circle continues to shrink with the departures of key aides and cabinet members, there is one Texan whose role in the administration is only growing more prominent and deeper.

Tea party favorite Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick was already close with Trump in 2016, when he led the president’s campaign in the state. But this week the White House showed just how valued Patrick is by repeatedly consulting with him over the last 8 days during the border wall showdown, flying Patrick to Washington, D.C., to help prepare Trump for his first nationwide address from the Oval Office and giving Patrick a key role in Trump’s first visit to the Texas border since he was elected president.

Over eight days, Patrick has said he was in touch with the White House at least five different times.

This week Patrick got so much presidential attention that when he returned to Texas he was batting down rumors that he was angling for a job in the White House or that Trump was going to make him the next Secretary of Homeland Security given his advocacy for border protection.

Job or not, Patrick, 68, has distinguished himself as a trusted ally for Trump and Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, whom Patrick said he spent most of his time with on Tuesday talking about immigration and pitching ideas for Trump’s address to the nation. Patrick initially supported U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz for the Republican nomination for president in 2016, but shifted to Trump and publicly called on Cruz to get behind Trump after the nomination was sealed.

“He has as much juice with the White House as anybody in Texas,” said Ford O’Connell, a veteran Republican strategist based in Virginia.

O’Connell said that relationship is even more important given the makeup of other states on the Mexican border. Both New Mexico and California have Democratic governors and Arizona just elected a Democrat to the United States Senate. But in Texas, O’Connell says Trump has a safe haven where he needs a voice like Patrick’s to help make the case for the wall.

Read more from Jeremy Wallace at The Houston Chronicle

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