Republican Sen. Bob Corker today stood by his remarks criticizing the White House as an “adult day care center” and arguing that President Trump is putting the United States on a path toward “World War III.”
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“I don’t make comments I haven’t thought about,” the Tennessee senator said in an interview with “Good Morning America.”
Corker was an early Trump ally, endorsing him during the presidential campaign. But Corker has since been wary of how Trump is handling the presidency and, in particular, his treatment of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
ABC NewsSenator Bob Corker speaks to”Good Morning America,” Oct. 24, 2017.
“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 told “Good Morning America” today.
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He added that when it comes to the diplomatic efforts underway to manage the rising tensions with North Korea, he would like for Trump to “leave it to the professionals for a while.”
“The president undermines our secretary of state [and] raises tensions in the area by virtue of the tweets that he sends out,” Corker said.
Another negotiation Corker wants Trump to stay out of is the tax debate.
The president hit back at Corker on Twitter in response to the senator’s comments Tuesday morning. Trump said Corker “couldn’t get elected dog catcher in Tennessee”. Corker had announced last month he won’t seek a third term and will retire from the Senate when his term ends in 2018.
Trump on Twitter Monday knocked down reports that the tax plan the White House and Republican leadership are drafting would cap retirement saving plans.
“There will be NO change to your 401(k). This has always been a great and popular middle class tax break that works, and it stays!” Trump tweeted.
Corker, as Trump plans to travel to Capitol Hill today to pitch tax overhaul to Senate Republicans during their policy lunch, said, “What I hope is going to happen is the president will leave this effort, if you will, to the tax-writing committees, let them do their work and not begin taking things off the table that ought to be debated in these committees at the proper time.”
Details of the White House and Republicans’ tax plan are still being hashed out and the plan has been mostly kept under wraps.
When asked whether he buys the administration’s argument that economic growth under its tax plan will cut the deficit by a trillion dollars, Corker remained hesitant, “We’ll have to see. Obviously, we need to look at scoring mechanisms and go through the process.”
As chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Corker also weighed in this morning on the Oct. 4 ambush in Niger. The Pentagon has opened an investigation into the attack amid questions about how the mission turned deadly and led to the deaths of four U.S. service members.
“Those details we don’t know, but we do know in that general area there are a lot of people that wish us harm,” Corker said.
U.S. troops should be in Niger, he said, but he and fellow GOP senators want to ensure that Congress is “playing the appropriate role” in authorizing military force in that area.