Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) escalated his criticisms of President Donald Trump on Tuesday morning in a series of interviews with major news networks, calling on the President to back off of tax reform and relations with North Korea and predicting that he will be remembered for the “debasement” of the United States.
Corker, who’s been blunt with his thoughts about the President ever since announcing he wouldn’t run for re-election next year, made the comments over the course of several hours. He appeared on NBC’s “Today,” ABC’s “Good Morning America, and CBS’ “This Morning” for planned interviews, but made some of his most stunning comments in a hallway interview with CNN later in the morning.
Below are the highlights:
He said Trump will be remembered for ‘debasement’ of the U.S.
Asked if the President is a good role model for young people in the country, Corker emphatically said Trump is not—and predicted that he will be most remembered for debasing the country.
“I think at the end of the day when his term is over, I think the debasement of our nation is what he’ll be remembered most for, and that’s regretful. It affects young people,” Corker told CNN. “I mean, we have young people who for the first time are watching a president, stating, you know, absolute nontruths nonstop. Personalizing things in the way that he does. It’s very sad for our nation.”
He thinks Trump won’t “rise to the occasion as President”
The Tennessee senator told several networks that it’s beginning to look like Trump will not change his behavior in office.
“I guess like all Americans I would have hoped that he would rise to the occasion and bring out the best in our nation,” he told CBS. “Hopefully what presidents do is to try to bring the country together, unify around common goals and not to debase our country, if you will, and that has not happened. And I’m beginning to believe it’s not going to happen.”
“I don’t really hold out a lot of hope, but I hope somehow a little bit different course of action can be taken,” Corker added later on CNN.
He also told CNN that Trump is “not going to rise to the occasion as president.”
He won’t be voting for Trump in 2020
Corker said definitively that he would not back Trump’s re-election in 2020.
When asked if he regrets backing Trump in 2016, Corker told CNN, “Let’s just put it this way, I would not do that again.” Asked if he would back Trump in 2020, Corker replied, “No way. No way.”
“I think that he’s proven himself unable to rise to the occasion, and I think many of us, me included, have tried to, you know—I’ve intervened, I’ve had a private dinner and have been with him on multiple occasions to try and create some kind of aspirational approach, if you will, to the way that he conducts himself,” he said. “I don’t think that that’s possible.”
He thinks Trump doesn’t have any “desire to be competent”
Corker believes Trump is simply unwilling to be a competent leader.
“I expressed concerns a few weeks ago about his leadership, and just his stability and the lack of desire to be competent on issues and understand, and, you know, nothing has changed,” he told CNN.
He thinks Trump tries to “purposely divide” the country
The senator said on CBS that Trump has acted as a divider rather than a unifier, particularly in the wake of violence at the fatal white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“It appears to be the governing model of this White House to purposefully divide,” Corker told CBS. “An individual in that particular position has tremendous power to set the tone for our country, and unfortunately, it’s being set in a way that I think is not bringing out the best in the citizens that we all treasure here in our country.”
He believes Trump is “untruthful”—and world leaders know it
While discussing generally how Trump constantly tells what he chose to label “untruths,” Corker noted that world leaders have picked up on Trump’s habit of playing fast and loose with the facts.
“Unfortunately, I think world leaders are very aware that much of what he says is untrue,” he told CNN. “Certainly people here are because these things are provably untrue, I mean, they are factually incorrect and people know the difference. So I don’t know why he lowers himself to such a low, low standard, and debases our country in a way that he does, but he does.”
Trump’s “kneecapping” Tillerson could lead to war, he said
Corker lamented on ABC that Trump has undermined Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, warning that Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric could lead the U.S. into a war.
“When you look at the fact that we’ve got this issue in North Korea and the President continues to kneecap his diplomatic representative, the secretary of state, and really move him away from successful diplomatic negotiations with China, which is key to this, you’re taking us on a path to combat,” Corker said.
“I would just like him to leave it to the professionals for a while and see if we can do something that’s constructive for our country, the region, and the world,” he added later.
“I would just like for [Pres. Trump] to leave it to the professionals for a while.” – Senator Bob Corker on President and North Korea pic.twitter.com/qQiC2NwjIX
— Good Morning America (@GMA) October 24, 2017