President Donald Trump said Wednesday that Sen. Rand Paul has “never let me down,” despite the Kentucky Republican’s opposition to Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, Mike Pompeo.
“I will say this about Rand Paul: He’s never let me down,” Trump told reporters from his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, when he was asked about Paul’s steadfast opposition to the CIA director becoming the nation’s next top diplomat. “Rand Paul is a very special guy as far as I’m concerned. He’s never let me down.”
After the President’s comments, Paul told reporters on Capitol Hill that Trump called him a “few minutes ago” and asked for him to meet with Pompeo and he will.
“I’m open to meeting right now and we’ll see what happens in the meeting,” he said with a smile, adding that no date had been set for the meeting.
Paul said he would vote against Pompeo shortly after his nomination was announced last month, citing Pompeo’s record supporting the Iraq War. Paul’s opposition is significant because he sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and his stance puts Pompeo on track to be the first nominee for this position to have an unfavorable recommendation out of committee since 1925, when committee decisions on secretary of state nominees began being made public.
Paul’s opposition also means Republicans will need at least one Democrat to vote for Pompeo on the Senate floor in order to confirm him.
Trump touted Pompeo’s recent meetings with Kim Jong Un as evidence of his diplomatic acumen.
“He just left North Korea. He had a great meeting with Kim Jong Un. Got along with him really well, really great,” Trump said.
“He’s that kind of a guy,” Trump said. “I have a feeling it’s going to work out very well.”
Paul has not been afraid to buck his party. Earlier this year he caused a brief shutdown of the federal government citing excessive spending in part, while his own party has been in charge of both chambers of Congress.
CNN’s Kristin Wilson and Ted Barrett contributed to this report.