Corker: My Concern About Trump Has ‘Been Building For Some Time’

AP

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), a vocal critic of President Donald Trump among Senate Republicans, said Monday that his concerns about the President have “built over time.”

“My thoughts were well thought out,” he told CNN’s Manu Raju, adding: “Look, I didn’t just blurt them out.”

In recent weeks, Corker has said Trump is setting the United States “on the path to World War III” and that Trump is treating the presidency like a reality show. He said Trump had performed a “public castration” of his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, and put Tillerson in a group of three senior officials — along with Defense Secretary James Mattis and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly — who “separate our country from chaos.”

“My comments, I stand by them — yes,” Corker told CNN.

The President previously accused the New York Times of setting up Corker “by recording his conversation” about Trump leading the United States into World War III. The Times later released a recording of the conversation in which Corker made sure he was on-the-record and being recorded.

“Look I’ve been expressing concerns for some time and it’s built over time,” Corker told CNN. “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.”

He also flatly refused to support the President’s most recent legislative goal — massive tax cuts for corporations, as well as a fundamental re-drawing of the tax code, still only a rough sketch — if it increased the deficit.

“I mean, I’ve stated that clearly,” he said.

“I’m very concerned as everyone knows and have been for 10 years and nine months since I’ve been here about our deficits,” the senator continued. “And I want to make sure that it’s not something that increases deficits, and I also want it to be tax reform.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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