Perdue said Trump has the "essence of a great leader" because he is willing to take different opinions into account and change his mind on policy and political matters, citing Trump's thought process on NAFTA.
"As directed and as forward and as forceful as he is on many things, he has what I think defined as the essence of a great leader," Perdue said. "He always leaves a little back door open for comments and he takes into consideration and is willing to change his mind on that.”
Unlike the portfolios held by Sessions and Tillerson, agriculture hasn't been as sexy of an issue for the Trump administration, which has allowed Perdue to frequently fly under the radar. And since the Agriculture Department focuses on a lot of rural issues, Perdue's constituency overlaps with much of Trump's base, earning him some political capital.
It also helps that he hasn't been ensnared in any high-profile scandal such as Price's private jet saga to capture the president's attention.
Perdue has also assembled a cadre of well-placed political allies within the Trump orbit to help insulate him any storms. His first cousin, U.S. Sen. David Perdue, has positioned himself as one of the administration's top allies on Capitol Hill. A smattering of Perdue's early aides from his past campaigns now have White House posts, including most prominently Nick Ayers.
That goodwill so far has helped insulate Perdue from any negative spotlights, even when he's disagreed with Trump on issues such as NAFTA, Cuba or the budget.
“He loves me," Perdue quipped.
Read more: Sonny Perdue signals he’s open to major food stamp changes