by Thomas Novelly, Louisville Courier Journal –
A USA TODAY investigation found that dozens of lobbyists and government contractors are among the members of President Trump’s private golf clubs. USA TODAY
President Donald Trump’s bromance with U.S. Sen. Rand Paul has been confirmed.
The Kentucky Republican boarded Air Force One on Sunday and later had a private round of golf with Trump, according to a White House statement. The golf date comes a week after Trump revoked the security credentials of former CIA Director John Brennan, something Paul urged him to do weeks before.
“The President played a quick round of golf with Senator Rand Paul who the president really likes and enjoys spending time with,” the White House said in a statement to pool reporters.
In the past few months, Trump and Paul have become allies, sharing in similar sentiments when it comes to security clearances for public officials, America’s dealings with Russia and health care policy.
A spokesman for Paul did not return a request for comment left at 7 a.m. asking what the two discussed on the golf course.
In October 2017, Paul hit the links with Trump just days after he signed an executive order for Paul’s health care plan that undercut the Affordable Care Act by seeking to expand cheap access to private insurance over state lines.
“The president never loses, didn’t you know?” Paul told the White House Pool in October. “The president and his partner beat me and my partner by three holes. He’s a little better golfer than I am, admittedly, but we had a good time.”
Paul has been a fierce defender of the president’s policy on Russia and has had a hand in maintaining relationships between Moscow and the White House.
Paul, on his recent diplomatic trip to Russia this month, delivered a letter from Trump to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The White House later clarified that it was a “letter of introduction” to Putin that Trump wrote at Paul’s request that discussed “topics of interest” Paul wanted to discuss with Putin.
Kentucky’s junior senator also might have had a hand in getting the security clearance of Brennan removed last week. A few weeks prior to Trump’s announcement that he would take back Brennan’s credentials, Paul had met one-on-one with the president to encourage him to revoke the privileges.
“I urged the president to do this,” Paul tweeted last week after Brennan’s clearance was removed.
Golf plays a central role in Trump’s administrative decisions and connections.
An investigation by USA TODAY found that dozens of lobbyists, contractors and others who make their living influencing the government pay Trump’s companies for membership in his private golf clubs, a status that can put them in close contact with the president.
Thomas Novelly: firstname.lastname@example.org, 502-582-4465. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: courier-journal.com/tomn.