It’s no secret that U.S. Reps. Chip Roy, a Republican from Hays County, and Dan Crenshaw, R-Houston, are staunch allies of President Donald Trump, but they also have cultivated reputations for speaking their minds, even in opposition to Trump.
The pair spoke at the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s annual Policy Orientation on Wednesday and answered questions afterward about their occasional criticisms of the president, which often come publicly on Twitter.
"I haven’t gotten any significant blowback by that because ultimately we’re all trying to march forward in the same direction and support the same policy," Roy said. "I just think we need more of that open, honest dialogue instead of shirts and skins just getting in the corner and shooting at each other instead of engaging."
Roy and Crenshaw are likely to face tough reelections in November — both in districts targeted by the campaign arm of Democrats in the U.S. House. But they also have become two of the better-known freshman Republicans nationally.
Roy has taken to cable news shows to criticize both Republicans and Democrats over what he has called inaction on border security, and Crenshaw first gained popularity when he responded to "Saturday Night Live’s" mocking of his eyepatch for his war wound.
In July, Roy grabbed headlines for joining Democrats in criticizing tweets in which Trump told four Democratic congresswomen of color — three born in the U.S. and all American citizens — to "go back" to the countries they came from.
"POTUS was wrong to say any American citizen, whether in Congress or not, has any ‘home’ besides the U.S.," Roy tweeted.
When Trump relentlessly lambasted the late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., after his death, Roy tweeted that he disagreed with Trump "trashing" McCain.
Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL, was critical of Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria in October, tweeting that conditions would worsen if U.S. forces left.
"Which scenario looks more like an endless war?" he asked.
And in May, Crenshaw accused Trump of parroting Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"Now I will give you this, the president has a bad habit of repeating what Putin says to the public, and he shouldn't do that, but he also has a pretty good habit of actions and putting policies that are vehemently counter Russia," he said on ABC’s "The View."
Like Roy, Crenshaw says he doesn’t receive much blowback for such comments because he doesn’t try to insult the president.
"So many people out there who feel like they need to insult the president or use really charged words like "disgusting" … or "repugnant," he said, adding with a laugh: "Just say, ‘I don’t agree with that.’ How about that?"
On Wednesday, the two also seemed to stray from Trump over climate change.
Trump has long brushed off the effects of a warming planet, but Roy said Republicans should have a "stronger message" on climate change, and Crenshaw said lawmakers should find some middle ground over the issue.
"We can make fun of the left’s sort of alarmist views on climate change, and we should to an extent, but we can’t ignore it completely," Crenshaw said during a Q&A with Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Robert Henneke.
Crenshaw added that he thinks Democrats’ positions go too far and could hurt the economy, but "that doesn’t mean there isn’t some effect on the climate from man-made emissions."