President Trump reportedly promised Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) in a private conversation that he was planning on pulling troops out of Afghanistan, the Washington Post reported on Monday.
“In general, we’re getting the hell out of there,” Paul claimed the president said, according to The Washington Post.
The offer supposedly played into a larger persuasion tactic from Trump to get Paul — a vocal opponent of then-State Department-nominee Mike Pompeo — to change his tune. Paul’s skepticism toward Pompeo’s “hawkish” international policies seemed to fade after he and Trump had several phone calls, including three on Monday, where the president implied he would steer his administration to cut back on the U.S.’ occupation in Afghanistan
And those promises seem to have done the trick. A last minute vote flip by Paul last Tuesday secured Pompeo’s confirmation to sail through, marking the former CIA director the new Secretary of State; the Senate committee voted 11 to 9.
“Having received assurances from President Trump and Director Pompeo that he agrees with the President on these important issues, I have decided to support his nomination to be our next Secretary of State,” Paul tweeted after the vote.
According to the Washington Post, it’s unclear whether Trump laid out any specifics on a timeline, messaging, or further policy announcements to Paul in their phone calls or if the president was fibbing in order to negotiate in his own favor.
Trump spoke favorably about Paul during a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron earlier this month.
“Rand Paul has really never let me down,” Trump said when asked about Paul’s flip. “Rand Paul is a good man. And I knew things that nobody else knew, and Rand Paul said I’m going to change my vote, and he voted and everybody was surprised.”
The two, who once used to be at odds on the campaign trail, now share a friendly, positive working relationship and even spend some time on the golf course with one another. Paul added the Washington Post that the two now share more commonalities than many other senators on the Foreign Relations Committee.
“He said it’s probably only he and I of the whole 16 that shared any of this vision of foreign policy that these wars had been a mistake,” Paul said. “[…] that’s an amazing opening for people like me who think we have made so many mistakes.”