Rep. Dan Crenshaw, popular with Trump backers and critics, seen by some as future of GOP

Only two months into his freshman stint in office, U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas is already making inroads with loyalists to President Trump as he becomes one of the Republican Party’s most prominent communicators, according to a published report.

Crenshaw’s rising popularity despite a willingness to sometimes criticize Trump puts him at odds with some in the GOP. But his style offers the possibility that the Republican Party can be more conservative, but not necessarily Trumpian, Politico reported in a recent profile.

“He’s not going to be in the business of pretending Trump is something he’s not, but he’s also not going to dump on Trump for the sake of a little bit of strange new respect from the left,” said conservative commentator Ben Shapiro.

“He’s not going to be in the business of pretending Trump is something he’s not, but he’s also not going to dump on Trump for the sake of a little bit of strange new respect from the left.” 

— Ben Shapiro, conservative commentator 

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Crenshaw has publically disagreed with Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria but has backed the president's decision to declare an emergency at the southern border.

A self-described “plain old conservative," Crenshaw, 34, has amassed a following since “Saturday Night Live’s” Pete Davidson mocked the former Navy SEAL’s eye patch during a "Weekend Update" segment last year. Davidson said the patch made Crenshaw look like a “hitman in a porno movie.”

The joke was followed by a firestorm of criticism of the show and Crenshaw appeared on “SNL” the next week to rib Davidson, telling viewers “never forget the sacrifices of veterans past and present, and never forget those we lost on 9/11, heroes like Pete’s father,” a firefighter who died trying to save those trapped in the World Trade Center.

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Still getting settled into his new role, Crenshaw has landed assignments on the Homeland Security and Budget committees and has earned praise from both Trump backers and skeptics.

“While he has some views that are different from the president, he has put himself in a position where he is still an ally to the administration on the whole,” said Andrew Surabian, a former Trump White House official who worked under Steve Bannon.

“While [Crenshaw] has some views that are different from the president, he has put himself in a position where he is still an ally to the administration on the whole.” 

— Andrew Surabian, a former Trump White House official 

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During his Wednesday speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) near Washington, Crenshaw spoke about embracing the conservative pillars of limited government, responsibility and liberty.

“He’s young. He’s exciting. He has a great story. Like, Trump’s a billionaire, and he’s the soldier, you know?” 20-year-old Jeremiah Childs told Politico following the speech “It’s two different things that are part of the ethos of the Republican Party. And he also sort of has that pop-culture brand.”