David Perdue never held political office prior to becoming a senator from Georgia, serving as a CEO of major companies like Reebok.
Perdue maintains a strong and candid relationship with President Donald Trump.
Perdue serves as a bridge between Senate leaders and the president, who have strikingly different approaches to policy.
Before Donald Trump, there was David Perdue.
Perdue, a Georgia Republican, became the first Fortune 500 CEO elected to the Senate. While making a name for himself helming companies like Reebok and discount store chain Dollar General, he worked on every continent on the planet except for Antarctica.
Like the president, Perdue had no experience in public office prior to his 2014 election to the Senate. But, similarly to Trump, he is no stranger to the political scene. And, much like Trump, Perdue believes the Washington, DC, system is broken.
"As a business guy, we have a point in commonality," Perdue said in a recent interview with Business Insider. "Number one, all we want is results. He's not an ideologue. He has not been up here in the Washington bubble for all these years, fighting these partisan wars. He just wants to get results. I just want to get results."
Perdue was among a group of Republican lawmakers invited to the White House shortly after Trump's inauguration, though he was the odd man out.
The March 1 meeting included six of the highest-ranking Republican members of the House and Senate. And then there was Perdue, a first-term senator with no rank or authority in the GOP.
"The purpose of that I think, was to emphasize that I was another business guy that understood that his first priority was getting the economy going again — I had thoughts about that," Perdue recalled of the meeting. "He and I disagreed on some things. He came in and wanted to do a lot of tariffs. We kind of put the other point on that. I argued against the border adjustment tax and was successful keeping it from becoming law. So the president and I have a very good relationship, but it's one that we have directed toward an end result."
But Perdue is no interloper. He has functioned as a bridge between the White House and Congress at a time when Trump's relationships with lawmakers can be highly volatile.
"I feel like I'm brokering the president's agenda in the Senate and I hope I'm developing confidence within the Senate that I don't really speak unless I have something to say and that's worked for me," he said.