Trump-Corker Feud Erupts into Public Exchange of Insults
President slams retiring GOP senator, calling him a 'negative voice' impeding 'our great agenda'
President Donald Trump kept up a recent pattern of clashing more fiercely with lawmakers of his own party rather than with the opposition, slamming retiring Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) as “a negative voice” who is “stand[ing] in the way of our great agenda” in a series of tweets Sunday.
Corker, who serves as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, announced in September that he wouldn’t seek re-election in 2018. Corker is largely viewed as an establishment voice in Congress. But that doesn’t lessen Trump’s need for Corker’s vote to pass any major legislation before he leave office.
"Senator Bob Corker 'begged' me to endorse him for re-election in Tennessee. I said "NO" and he dropped out (said he could not win without ... my endorsement). He also wanted to be Secretary of State, I said 'NO THANKS.' He is also largely responsible for the horrendous Iran Deal!" Trump tweeted. "Hence, I would fully expect Corker to be a negative voice and stand in the way of our great agenda. Didn't have the guts to run!"
It didn't take long for Corker to respond to the president's attacks on Twitter.
"It's a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning," Corker fired back.
A source reportedly familiar with Trump's phone call with Corker contradicted the president's claims, the Washington Examiner reported.
"All claims made in the president's tweets are false," the source reportedly said. "The president called the senator early last week and asked him to reconsider his decision not to seek re-election and reaffirmed that he would have endorsed him, as he has said many times."
This wasn't the first occasion upon which Corker has openly critiqued the White House. On Wednesday, the senator from Tennessee offered a veiled jab at Trump's abilities as commander-in-chief when he commended Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, and Defense Secretary James Mattis for keeping the country from succumbing to "chaos" when talking to reporters.
Corker said that the three men "work well together to make sure that the policies that we put forth around the world are sound and coherent."
"I hope they stay because they're valuable to the national security of our nation. They're valuable to us putting forth good policies. They're very valuable as it relates to our citizens feeling safe and secure, and I hope he's here for a long time," Corker added.
Press secretary Sara Sanders said Friday that Trump "is the one that's keeping the world from chaos."
"He has an incredible team around him that's helping him lead that effort, and he's had tremendous accomplishments on the international stage by working with allies and confronting enemies," Sanders said.
The senator from Tennessee also made waves when he criticized Trump in the aftermath of the August 12 race-fueled Charlottesville rally that turned deadly. After the president blamed "many sides" for the violence and hatred, Corker questioned Trump's competency as president.
"The president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful," Corker said in a video published by local outlet Nooga.com. "He has not demonstrated that he understands what has made this nation great and what it is today, and he's got to demonstrate the characteristics of a president who understands that."
(photo credit, homepage image: U.S. Senator Bob Corker Visiting Moldova April 21 and 22, CC BY-ND 2.0, by U.S. Embassy Moldova)