Sen. Corker Offers Scathing Condemnation of Trump
Reporter Manu Raju of CNN held the microphone while Sen. Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican, did the rest. En route to a luncheon with Donald Trump and other Republican leaders, Raju caught up with the Sen. Corker in the hallway of the capital building. The interview begins with Corker correcting the record on Trump's false claim that 'Corker begged him for an endorsement.' According to Corker, Trump asked him to seek reelection on four separate occasions.
Corker went on to reflect, "I don't know why he lowers himself to such a low low standard." The answer seems obvious to most rational analysts - Trump is not capable of putting on a façade. Thus, who we see, is who Trump is. When he 'lowers the standard' it is because his standard for excellence is low.
When Raju pointed the conversation towards foreign policy, Corker's most alarming rebuke of Trump was revealed. Corker implied that the U.S. has lost or is losing the faith of close allies abroad. "Unfortunately, world leaders are aware that much of what [Trump] says is untrue" said Corker. Asked directly whether he would call the President of the United States a liar, Corker explained that he preferred not to "use the L-word." But when redirected and asked whether he would call Trump an untruthful president, Corker emphatically responded, "without question...the president has great difficulty with the truth, on many issues."
Shifting the conversation, Raju allowed Corker to reflect on his previous support of Trump, asking Corker if he regretted supporting Trump in the election. Corker affirmed he would certainly 'never do that again.' His main reason for being disappointed with Trump stems from his miscalculation that Trump would somehow 'rise to the occasion' once in office.
Raju then asked, "Do you think he's a role model to children in the United States?" Without hesitation Corker replied, "No, absolutely not."
"At the end of the day when [Trump's] term is over, the debasing of our nation, the constant non truth telling, the name calling, the debasement of our nation is what he'll be remembered most for, and that affects young people," Corker opined.
Corker went on to break down the dangers of having an individual so devoid of a moral compass occupying the highest office. Corker explained, "We have young people for the first time watching a president. Watching the president state absolutely non truths, non stop. Personalizing things in the way that he does and it's very sad for the nation."
Corker was wise not to allow Raju to pin him down on a question asking if he trusted Trump with the nuclear codes. However, Corker did admit that the (Foreign Relations) committee intended to review executive power as it relates to waging nuclear war, in upcoming hearings.
These stunning comments from Corker arrived on the same day that Arizona Republican, Senator Jeff Flake announced that he will not seek reelection. From the floor of the U.S. Senate, Flake pleaded with his colleagues not to allow Trump to continue to hold the GOP hostage while taking the country down a dark path. For a president who never ceases to inform of how unique his tenure has been, the Flake speech possibly blazed a new trail of intraparty obstruction. We've never experienced this grand a public fracture of a major political party.
Are the actions of Flake or Corker a signal for a new beginning in a fracturing Republican Party? If history is to be our guide, no. The party is as unified as it has ever been. The swift denunciation of Corker's comments, by sitting members of Congress hoping to preserve favor with Trump, further evidences this reality. Corker and Flake are not the norm in the party. By announcing their respective retirements at the conclusion of this term, Corker and Flake are alleviated from the burden of appealing to the worst instincts of Trump supporters. For those two, the game is over. But while Trump hangs on to popularity amongst the party's base, for GOP Senate and House members, the game of morally bankrupt political apathy has just begun.