White House like 'adult day care centre', says top Republican
President Donald Trump has engaged in an ill-tempered exchange with a prominent Republican senator who dubbed the White House an "adult day care centre".
In political discourse that might once have seemed inconceivable, Bob Corker hit back at a series of tweets from the US president, saying: "It's a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning."
In an interview with The New York Times on Sunday, Mr Corker said Mr Trump could set the US "on the path to World War III" with threats towards other countries.
Mr Corker also said Mr Trump acted as if he was on his old reality TV show and that his behaviour concerned the senator, adding: "He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation."
Mr Corker told the paper that his concerns about the president were shared by nearly every Republican in the Senate, the government's upper chamber.
In a series of stinging tweets on Sunday, Mr Trump said Mr Corker:
- Was "largely responsible for the horrendous" Iran nuclear deal, which the Democratic Obama administration negotiated and Mr Corker considered badly flawed.
- Intended to obstruct the White House agenda, though he offered no evidence for saying he expected Mr Corker "to be a negative voice".
- "Begged" for Mr Trump's endorsement in his 2018 re-election, then opted against seeking a third term when Mr Trump declined, showing the senator "didn't have the guts to run".
However, the Associated Press reported that Mr Trump, in a private meeting in September, had urged Mr Corker to run. Mr Corker's chief of staff, Todd Womack, said that Mr Trump called Mr Corker last Monday to ask that he reconsider his decision to leave the Senate. Mr Trump "reaffirmed that he would have endorsed him, as he has said many times," the aide said.
- Wanted to be secretary of state, and "I said 'NO THANKS,'" said Mr Trump.
Mr Trump added another tweet Sunday evening: "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!"
In his interview with the New York Times, Mr Corker said: "Look, except for a few people, the vast majority of our caucus understands what we're dealing with here," adding that "of course they understand the volatility that we're dealing with and the tremendous amount of work that it takes by people around him to keep him in the middle of the road".
Mr Corker said Rex Tillerson, US Secretary of State, along with Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and White House chief of staff John Kelly, are "those people that help separate our country from chaos".