He also has, according to administration officials, increasingly become a senator the president and his team consults on matters of foreign policy. Rubio has long been a hardliner when it comes to the Castro regime in Cuba and the Maduro government in Venezuela, even arguing that the latter deserves to be added to the State Department’s terror sponsorship list—positions Trump’s echoed. He also cheered the president’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Iran nuclear agreement and has found a way to merge his China skepticism and free-market instincts into approval of Trump’s tough trade policies.

One former Rubio aide said the Senator was seeking to curry favor with Trump precisely to influence him on foreign policy, even “if it means that he is willing to be a surrogate on some of the other aspects of the president’s agenda.”

“Everyone knows the president has a short memory on these things. So if you want to continue to be a voice on them and you want to continue to have influence on these issues, you need to continue to curry favor,” the former aide said. “If you want to continue to be a voice in foreign policy like Marco does, then you need to continue to ensure that the president thinks of you as a voice to look toward on these issues. Because everyone knows that the president doesn’t have this depth of foreign policy knowledge to count on.”