Friday 20 April 2018

Senators silent over Trump's clash with Corker

Senator Bob Corker. Photo: PA News
Senator Bob Corker. Photo: PA News

Erica Werner in Washington

Senator Bob Corker is hardly the only Republican lawmaker raising dark concerns about harm President Donald Trump might cause the US and the world. But he's one of the few willing to air those worries in public.

Most Republican senators were silent a day after Mr Corker said that the White House was an "adult day care" and Mr Trump could set the nation "on the path to World War III".

The only senator who publicly hinted at similar concerns was Iowa senator Chuck Grassley, who said both Mr Trump and Mr Corker should "cool it".

Tennessee's Mr Corker, with his Twitter broadsides and an explosive weekend 'New York Times' interview, gave voice to concerns that circulate widely on Capitol Hill about an unpredictable president whose tendency to personalise every issue creates risks for the Grand Old Party (GOP) agenda. But Mr Trump's enduring popularity with a segment of the GOP base serves as a political muzzle that keeps most elected Republicans from saying anything similar, even those who believe it to be true.

Mr Trump slammed the interview on Twitter. He said: "The Failing @nytimes set Liddle' Bob Corker up by recording his conversation. Was made to sound a fool, and that's what I am dealing with!"

Mr Grassley, who won't be up for re-election until 2022, responded bluntly when asked about the situation.

"I don't see how it's productive. I think it would be better if we stuck to the issues and leave personalities out of it," he said.

A few other Republican senators who provided public views avoided aligning themselves with Mr Corker.

"You'll have to ask Senator Corker what led him to make that statement. I haven't made that statement," Senator Marco Rubio of Florida said of Mr Corker's suggestion that Mr Trump could take the country into another world war.

Senator Jeff Flake has been outspoken in his criticism of Mr Trump, who has attacked him in return. But the Arizona Republican was restrained during a joint interview with Mr Rubio after a re-election fundraiser in Scottsdale.

"Any of us who've worked with Senator Corker know that he speaks his mind," Mr Flake said.

Vice President Mike Pence, in a statement that never mentioned Mr Corker, praised the president for "achieving real results on the international stage".

Irish Independent

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