Donald Trump let loose another furious Twitter storm this morning, targeting a fellow Republican, Senator Bob Corker, who announced earlier in the week that he would not run for another six-year term.
Whatever Corker did — real, or more probably imagined — Trump found it necessary to lie about his conversations with the senator and misrepresent his own support for Corker’s re-election.
“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),” Trump said in a series of tweets. “He also wanted to be Secretary of State, I said ‘NO THANKS.’ He is also largely responsible for the horrendous Iran Deal!”
He added, “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!”
Corker sarcastically fired back at Trump on Twitter Sunday morning.
“It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning,” the Tennessee Republican wrote.
While Corker didn’t address Trump’s claims, a source familiar with the matter said that when Trump and Corker met in September, the president said he would endorse and campaign for Corker if he ran again. Trump also called Corker in October after he made his decision to retire, urging Corker to reconsider; Corker said he appreciated the request but that he’d made his decision, the source said.
Trump’s assault on a prominent Senate chairman could have dire implications for his agenda. Corker controls the confirmation of diplomatic nominees, and potentially a new secretary of state if Rex Tillerson quits or is ousted.
Furthermore, Senate Republicans only control 52 seats, and creating any new enemies in the conference could backfire later. Corker, for example, has already expressed distaste for his party’s zeal for tax cuts without making tough fiscal decisions.
Senate Republicans are privately worried Trump could upset a tenuous budget deal with Corker that could hurt tax reform. Corker agreed to pass a budget expanding the deficit by $1.5 trillion to get to tax reform, but the Senate won’t vote on the budget until next week.
Trump’s claims come after Corker last week told reporters that some of the president’s advisers are helping control an otherwise chaotic situation.
“I think Secretary Tillerson, Secretary Mattis and Chief of Staff Kelly are those people that help separate our country from chaos,” Corker said, referring to James Mattis and John Kelly.
The White House hit back at the Senate Foreign Relations chairman, with press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying it is the president who is holding back the chaos.
“Look, I think that the president is the one that’s keeping the world from chaos,” she said. “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.”
Trump is a liar. But unlike Bill Clinton, he is a bad liar in that his lies are easily exposed. Very few congressmen and senators are “begging” him for an endorsement. He flatters himself (as usual) when he says otherwise.
Pissing off one of the most powerful senators on the Hill is horrible politics. It’s even worse when he’s a member of your own party. To do it deliberately is unfathomably stupid. It opens the question of whether Trump is afraid of success and prefers failure.
Or maybe he just prefers governing exactly the same way that Obama did — by executive order. It’s so much easier when you can ignore Congress and rule like a king.
Republicans are going to start asking why Trump doesn’t switch parties or create his own party. The latter is more likely, of course, but from this distance it looks like Trump doesn’t have the guts to start a third party. So perhaps until he has the courage of his own convictions, he should keep his mouth shut about political “guts.”