TrumpWatch, Day 262: Trump’s Attack on GOP Senator Corker Backfires

Senator Bob Corker with Donald Trump (File --- Getty)

Corker: “The vast majority of our caucus understands what we’re dealing with here.”

Developments on Day 262:

Corker Hits Back at White House as “Adult Day Center”

Donald Trump’s attempt to humiliate a leading Republican senator fails spectacularly when Bob Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, portrays Trump’s instability and warns he could bring World War III.

Trump has been carrying the grudge that Corker — amplifying Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s reported labelling of Trump as a “f***** moron” — gave thanks last week for Tillerson, Chief Staff John Kelly, and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis preventing chaos. The Senator, who is retiring in 2018, also said in August that Trump is unstable.

On Sunday morning Trump, before setting for the golf course, decided to put Corker in his place:

Trump concluded, “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!”

Unless previous targets of Trump’s attempted humiliations — including Tillerson and Attorney General Jeff Sessions — Corker responded, in a tweet which quickly went viral:

“He Concerns Me”

Far more was to come later in the day in a Corker interview with The New York Times.

The senator said that Trump, treating the White House “like he’s doing ‘The Apprentice’ or something”, was making reckless threats toward other countries that could set US “on the path to World War III”: “He concerns me. He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation.”

Corker repeated his assessment, reportedly shared privately by many legislators, “I know for a fact that every single day at the White House, it’s a situation of trying to contain him.”

Trump’s Risky Fight

Beyond the personal drama, Trump’s outburst on Sunday risked the demolition of a slim GOP majority in a Senate, after more than eight months in which the White House has not obtained the passage of a single major piece of legislation.

In a Senate divided 52-48, both Corker’s vote and influence could be vital for the Administration’s tax bill and budget. Having played a key role in the Congressional oversight of the July 2015 Iran nuclear deal, he could also be vital if Trump wants support for any attempt to “decertify” Iranian compliance with the agreement.

On Sunday, Corker backed Secretary of State Tillerson, whose attempts at diplomacy over the North Korea crisis have been undercut by Trump’s tweets on two consecutive weekends:

A lot of people think that there is some kind of “good cop, bad cop” act underway, but that’s just not true….

I know [Trump] has hurt, in several instances, he’s hurt us as it relates to negotiations that were underway by tweeting things out.

Corker confirmed the reports that his concerns are shared by others in Congress: “Look, except for a few people, the vast majority of our caucus understands what we’re dealing with here. Of course they understand the volatility that we’re dealing with and the tremendous amount of work that it takes by people around him to keep him in the middle of the road.”

Related Posts

Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.

Leave a Comment