Corker: Tillerson Among Those Who ‘Separate Our Country From Chaos’

FILE -- In this photo from Friday, Oct. 11, 2013, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington about the government stalemate. Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, removed himself Wednesday from consideration as Donald Trump’s vice-presidential running mate.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) on Wednesday went to bat for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who he described as one of “those people that help separate our country from chaos,” alongside Defense Secretary James Mattis and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.

The remark came a few hours after Tillerson called an impromptu press conference to deny anonymously-sourced reporting that he had considered resigning from his post. Corker didn’t comment on the resignation rumors, but did bluntly express his belief that Tillerson had been left out to dry by the Trump White House.

“I don’t know what he may have said after the briefing,” Corker said, referring to reports that the secretary of state told other senior government officials that Trump was a “moron” in July. The State Department refuted those stories, but Tillerson himself notably did not.

“I mean, I see what’s happening here,” Corker continued. “I deal with people throughout the administration and he, from my perspective, is in an incredibly frustrating place where, as I watch, and I can watch very closely on many occasions, he ends up not being supported in the way that I would hope a secretary of state would be supported.”

Corker added, referring to Tillerson: “He’s in a very trying situation. Trying to solve many of the world’s problems, a lot of times, without the kind of support and help that I’d like to see him have.”

The Tennessee senator, who announced in September that he will retire rather than run for reelection next year, said Tillerson, Mattis and Kelly “work very well together to make sure that the policies we put forth around the world are sound and coherent.”

“There are other people within the administration, in my belief, that don’t. I’m sorry,” he said.

Watch below via CSPAN:

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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