‘LaPolitics:’ General Landry burning a path through the Potomac

    With no real opposition to speak of yet for the fall ballot and a battle-ready war chest in the wings just in case someone gets froggy in Baton Rouge, Attorney General Jeff Landry has been quietly expanding his political profile some 1,100 miles away in Washington, D.C.

    While speculation will always surround Landry’s elected future, which could hypothetically include a bid for governor or U.S. senator in coming cycles, the General insists he’s simply drawn to national politics and policy, has an applicable background and, in a way, found himself in the right place at the right time. “I think a lot of that stems from my time up on the Hill,” Landry, a former Republican congressman, told LaPolitics in an interview Thursday morning. “Those relationships certainly continue.”

    He most recently participated in a White House roundtable discussion on border security and led a group of his A.G. counterparts against big tech companies on consumer protection issues. The St. Martin Parish native is also president of the National Association of Attorneys General and will bring his colleagues from around the county to Lafayette next month for their annual meeting and some Cajun hospitality.

    Most notably, Landry privately lobbied several U.S. senators on President Donald Trump’s border security legislation. Landry said he has many close relationships in the upper chamber with former House colleagues, such as U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina. “They’ll take the call,” Landry said, referring to himself.

    U.S. Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, another friend, appeared at a fundraiser for Landry during Washington Mardi Gras, telling donors he wished the A.G. “could be cloned, so he could be here in D.C. and in Louisiana at the same time.”

    Landry’s friendships also extend to the Trump Administration. He enjoys good relationships with Vice President Mike Pence and other former colleagues from the congressional days. Landry was seen lunching with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during Washington Mardi Gras, and he speaks frequently with White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, who can manage a decent impression of the General’s thick Cajun accent.

    “A lot of those (House) classmates are either currently in cabinet positions or in the Senate or currently in the House in leadership roles,” Landry said. “All of those things I think have helped forge an opportunity and a reputation for us to be at the table when important national policy is being shaped.”

    The president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., even made an appearance at Landry’s infamous gator hunt fundraiser last year and the A.G. has been a frequent visitor to the White House to attend official events and private meetings. Plus, the White House’s official Twitter account and members of the Trump family often retweet Landry’s office. “When there are issues under which they need an attorney general to be involved, they’ll call us,” he said, adding, “I’ve used it not to my personal advantage, but to the advantage of Louisianans in ensuring that those relationships are leveraged to help Louisiana,” he said.

    Jeremy Alford publishes LaPolitics Weekly, a newsletter on Louisiana politics, at LaPolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter, or on Facebook. He can be reached at JJA@LaPolitics.com.  

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