Bob Corker

Corker Makes Nice with Trump

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN),” who is traveling Monday on Air Force One with President Trump, has repaired his relationship with the commander in chief after the two men exchanged fierce words in the fall,” CNN reports.

“The two have spoken several times since late last year, particularly as Corker was weighing whether to support the sweeping tax overhaul… Corker’s moves to make amends with Trump reflect a calculation among many Senate Republicans: While they may complain about what they view as his erratic behavior, they will soothe over tense relations and look past previous disputes to get on his good side in order to influence him over key decisions.”

Corker Failed to Properly Disclose Millions in Income

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) “failed to properly disclose millions of dollars in income from real estate, hedge funds and other investments since entering the Senate in 2007,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Mr. Corker late Friday filed a series of amendments showing that his personal financial reports as originally filed included dozens of errors and omissions.”

Why Did Corker Flip on the Tax Bill?

Politico: “Days before his surprise announcement that he would support the GOP tax bill, Sen. Bob Corker had been summoning administration officials and economists to his office to see whether he could ultimately get on board with the plan. One was Douglas Holtz-Eakin, the former Congressional Budget Office director and adviser to GOP presidential campaigns who painstakingly went through varying analyses of the tax measure as Corker — accompanied by at least a half-dozen aides and stacks of spreadsheets — drilled him with questions.”

“The mystery over Corker’s flip quickly swirled into a political firestorm over suggestions that the senator decided to support the tax measure only after winning a provision that could personally enrich him. Liberal activists and lawmakers declared it the ‘Corker Kickback,’ in a last-ditch bid to derail the bill — or at least further tarnish Republicans’ big tax win this week.”

Corker Flips to Support Tax Bill

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) said that he will support the GOP tax plan, saying the legislation represents a “once-in-a-generation opportunity,” The Hill reports.

Said Corker: “I know every bill we consider is imperfect and the question becomes is our country better off with or without this piece of legislation. I think we are better off with it. I realize this is a bet on our country’s enterprising spirit, and that is a bet I am willing to make.”

Axios: “Corker’s vote essentially cements the tax bill’s passage before the Christmas deadline.”

Corker Signals He Could Vote Against Tax Bill

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) said that “he could oppose his party’s tax bill over deficit concerns in an expected Senate Budget Committee vote this week, but added that Republicans were working to resolve his concerns,” Reuters reports.

Said Corker: “I’m not threatening anything. I’m just saying it’s very important for me to know that we’ve got this resolved.”

Asked if he could vote “no” on the tax bill at a committee hearing slated for Tuesday, he replied: “Very possible. Yeah. Sure.”

Corker Stopped Short of Calling for Trump’s Removal

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) unloaded on President Trump during a CNN interview, stating that Trump will be most remembered for “the debasement of our nation.”

He added: “I think at the end of the day, when his term is over. I think the debasing of our nation, the constant not truth telling, just the name calling, the things… I think the debasement of our nation will be what he’ll be remembered most for and that’s regretful.”

Corker also said that he “would not” support Trump again, though he stopped short of saying that Trump should be removed from office.

Exchange of the Day

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) gave an extraordinary interview to Savannah Guthrie on the Today Show:

GUTHRIE: Left to his own devices, do you think the president is a threat to national security?

CORKER: I think that there are people who are around him who work in an effort to contain him – that would be Secretary Mattis, Tillerson and General Kelly there as chief of staff.

GUTHRIE: That almost seems to accept the premise of the question: He needs to be contained?

CORKER: I do think, when you’re having the kind of issue we’re having with North Korea where we have a very unstable leader there, when you send out tweets into the region to raise tension, when you kneecap your secretary of state whose diplomacy you have to depend upon … you really move our country into a binary choice which could lead to a world war.

Trump Blasts Corker Again

President Trump tweeted that Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) “couldn’t get elected dog catcher in Tennessee” and is now fighting the president’s tax reform plan.

He added: “Corker dropped out of the race in Tennessee when I refused to endorse him, and now is only negative on anything Trump. Look at his record!”

Corker responded: “Same untruths from an utterly untruthful president.”

Corker Stands By Criticism of Trump

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) told CNN he stands by his blistering criticism of President Trump.

Said Corker: “My thoughts were well thought out. Look, I didn’t just blurt them out.”

He added: “I’ve had private dinners, I’ve had private phone calls, I’ve tried to intervene on topics that I thought things were going in a different direction and are not going to be good for our country. This is not a new thing, it’s been building for some time. And it’s a pattern that I think we’ve fought and expressed for some period of time.”

Corker Says Trump Is Trying to ‘Castrate’ Tillerson

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), “who publicly laid into Trump earlier this week on Twitter by saying the White House had become an ‘adult day care center,’ slammed the president by saying he was undermining Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and creating scenarios in which the United States might be forced to choose between waging war on North Korea or Iran or allowing those countries to threaten the U.S. with nuclear weapons,” Politico reports.

Said Corker: “You cannot publicly castrate your own secretary of state without giving yourself that binary choice.”

He added: “When you jack the legs out from under your chief diplomat, you cause all that to fall apart. Us working with Beijing effectively is the key to not getting to a binary choice. When you publicly castrate your secretary of state, you take that off the table.”

Trump Mocks Corker’s Height

President Trump escalated his attack on Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) “by ridiculing him for his height, even as advisers worried that the president was further fracturing his relationship with congressional Republicans just a week before a vote critical to his tax cutting plan,” the New York Times reports.

“Trump gave Corker a derogatory new nickname — ‘Liddle Bob‘ — after the two exchanged barbs in recent days.”

“In labeling Mr. Corker ‘liddle,’ the president was evidently returning to a theme. He considered Mr. Corker for secretary of state during the transition after last year’s election but was reported to have told associates that Mr. Corker, at 5-foot-7, was too short to be the nation’s top diplomat.”