Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, charged in an interview on Sunday that President Trump was treating his office like “a reality show,” with reckless threats toward other countries that could set the nation “on the path to World War III.”
In an extraordinary rebuke of a president of his own party, Mr. Corker said he was alarmed about a president who acts “like he’s doing ‘The Apprentice’ or something.”
“He concerns me,” Mr. Corker added. “He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation.”
Mr. Corker’s comments capped a remarkable day of sulfurous insults between the president and the Tennessee senator — a powerful, if lame-duck, lawmaker, whose support will be critical to the president on tax reform and the fate of the Iran nuclear deal.
It began on Sunday morning when Mr. Trump, posting on Twitter, accused Mr. Corker of deciding not to run for re-election because he “didn’t have the guts.” Mr. Corker shot back in his own tweet: “It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.”
The senator, Mr. Trump said, had “begged” for his endorsement. “I said ‘NO’ and he dropped out (said he could not win without my endorsement),” the president wrote. He also said that Mr. Corker had asked to be secretary of state. “I said ‘NO THANKS,’” he wrote.
Mr. Corker flatly disputed that account, saying Mr. Trump had urged him to run again, and promised to endorse him if he did. But the exchange laid bare a deeper rift: The senator views Mr. Trump as given to irresponsible outbursts — a political novice who has failed to make the transition from show business.
Mr. Trump poses such an acute risk, the senator said, that a coterie of senior administration officials must protect him from his own instincts. “I know for a fact that every single day at the White House, it’s a situation of trying to contain him,” Mr. Corker said in a telephone interview.
The deeply personal back-and-forth will almost certainly rupture what had been a friendship with a fellow real estate developer turned elected official, one of the few genuine relationships Mr. Trump had developed on Capitol Hill. Still, even as he leveled his stinging accusations, Mr. Corker repeatedly said on Sunday that he liked Mr. Trump, until now an occasional golf partner, and wished him “no harm.”
The White House did not respond to a request for comment on Mr. Corker’s remarks.
Considering Trump would need Corker's full support on just about anything foreign policy related (Iran, North Korea, immigration, etc) or just as a reliable vote in general for his tax scheme, pissing Corker off is something that's probably going to cost Trump down the line.
But for Corker to unload like this and confirm that "several of his caucus" feel the same way about Trump is going to make things very uncomfortable for them in the coming days and weeks, as certainly they will be asked if they agree with Corker, and if so, what they plan to do about reining Trump in.
How much of this is kabuki I cannot say, Corker is after all retiring, and that's significant. So is your own party questioning the fitness of a sitting Oval Office occupant to do the job. Whether or not this is the fisrt crack in the dam of Trump support on Capitol Hill remains to be seen, but there certainly now precedent for the Senate GOP to trash Trump openly.
Stay tuned. Blood is in the water and it's Shark Week.