Lindsey Graham And Rand Paul — End Times Allies

Congressional Republicans will defer to President Trump on many things, but on foreign policy, they are more willing to assert themselves. That’s been clear in the aftermath of Trump’s announced withdrawal from Syria and the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. But a more subtle sign of the president’s loose grip on lawmakers was the emergence of an unlikely alliance against him that has been described by one of its participants as a sign of the “end times.”

Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., represent opposite poles of the GOP foreign-policy spectrum. Graham is hawkish, insisting that if we do not fight America’s enemies “over there,” we will instead face them “over here.” Paul is a skeptic of military intervention, especially in the Middle East, who argues the U.S. is fighting too many wars with too little congressional authorization.

On Saudi Arabia, the two of them are united: They want to punish Riyadh for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and are exasperated by the president’s unwillingness to confront Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Trump wants to continue to have a close relationship with the Saudi regime, which he views as an important counterweight to Iranian influence in the region.

Despite their ideological differences, Graham and Paul generally have taken a similar approach to dealing with Trump. They were very anti-Trump when they ran against him for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. Paul called Trump an “orange-faced windbag” while Graham dubbed the businessman and reality TV star a “jackass” and a “kook.”

Trump repaid in kind. “He gave out one guy’s phone number and called the other guy a midget,” recalled Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. “If we nominate Trump,” Graham predicted during the campaign, “we will get destroyed … and we will deserve it.”

“You’ve got to understand how Paul and Graham went from Never Trumpers to people who have cracked the Trump matrix and have his ear,” said O’Connell. “When you disagree with a Trump position outside of your core issues, rather than running to CNN or MSNBC or to the first available mic to share your disgust, you keep your mouth shut, period. And when you agree with a Trump position outside of your core issues, you cheer on his position louder than he does and you sprint to a Trump-friendly media outlet and ring a cowbell as loud as you can.”

That’s how the two senators became frequent golfing buddies with the president despite frequently disagreeing with him.

Read more from W. James Antle III at the Washington Examiner

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