By Aristophanes and Hermes
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with another tweet from President Donald Trump. Comments from Sen. Bob Corker’s Sunday night interview with The New York Times have also been added.
Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, set to retire by the 2018 midterm elections, is one of only a handful of Republicans free to hurl criticism at the party’s leader, President Donald Trump.
Corker is off the leash — and this attack dog’s got a serious bite.
On Sunday, Corker, chair of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, wrote of his commander in chief:
“It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.”
The remark was in response to a string of tweets from Trump attacking the senator, who is widely respected by colleagues and constituents, alike:
“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). He also wanted to be Secretary of State, I said ‘NO THANKS.’ He is also largely responsible for the horrendous Iran Deal! 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!”
After Corker’s reply, Trump refused to let it go, firing off another tweet:
“Bob Corker gave us the Iran Deal, & that’s about it. We need HealthCare, we need Tax Cuts/Reform, we need people that can get the job done!”
Corker’s camp said earlier Sunday all of the president’s claims are false.
Sunday night, Corker pulled out all the stops. In a telephone interview with The New York Times, he warned the president’s threats toward other nations could put us “on the path to World War III.”
That’s right. A sitting Republican senator accused a president from his own party of behavior so reckless it could trigger a third global conflict.
As of the the writing of this article, Trump had not yet replied to Corker’s WWIII remark.
The president has a history of starting needless fights on social media. As many have pointed out, such behavior is reprehensible coming from the supposed “leader of the free world.”
More Republicans should be willing to stand up for what they really believe. Corker gave up the chance of a relatively easy re-election. Now he’s free to provide a check on the executive branch’s bullying chief, a task more important now than ever before.
The United States was built on a system of checks and balances between the three branches of government. So far, only the judiciary has seemed somewhat willing to contain the dangerous pseudo-authoritarianism of the Trump administration’s decrees. Corker’s colleagues on the right should follow his example of speaking truth to power.
Republicans in Congress should grow a spine and fight back. If they don’t, the midterm elections could put them out of a job. ■