Donald Trump dinged Sen. Bob Corker on Friday morning, tweeting he finds the Republican lawmaker’s recent criticism odd since he has “constantly” sought the president’s advice about his re-election prospects in Tennessee.
Trump tweeted Corker’s remarks last week that Trump has yet to show he possesses the “stability” and “competence” to perform the duties of the presidency are “strange” because the lawmaker “is constantly asking me whether or not he should run again in ’18.”
The president ended the tweet with his assessment of Corker’s chances of winning a third term: “Tennessee not happy!”
Strange statement by Bob Corker considering that he is constantly asking me whether or not he should run again in ’18. Tennessee not happy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 25, 2017
The tweets came after Corker, during a local news interview that went national after it was posted on Facebook, had some harsh words for the president in the wake of the racially motivated Charlottesville, Virginia, violence and Trump’s botched response to it.
“The president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful,” Corker said during an interview that was posted on Facebook.
“He also, recently, has not demonstrated that he understands the character of this nation,” Corker added, apparently referring to the violence in Charlottesville. “He has not demonstrated that he understands what has made this nation great and what it is today. … And without the things that I just mentioned happening, our nation is going to go through great peril.”
Corker once was considered a candidate for secretary of State — even vice president — under Trump. But he said last week that Trump must find “way more discipline” and “a lot more inner strength” in order to “be measured and to try to solve problems.”
“Radical changes” must “take place, at the White House itself,” Corker said. “It has to happen. The president needs to take stock of the role he plays in our nation and move beyond himself — move way beyond himself. And move to a place where, daily, he’s thinking about what’s best for our nation.”
On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had a pithy but scathing reaction to Corker’s words
“I think that’s a ridiculous and outrageous claim and doesn’t even require a response from this podium,” Sanders said.
The Trump-Corker tensions end what had been an alliance-by-convenience, with the Senate Foreign Relations chairman making Trump’s short list for secretary of State. The two maintained that relationship through the early summer months, with Corker joining Trump and former NFL star quarterback Peyton Manning for a round of golf in June.
But there were signs of strains in the relationship soon after. A few weeks before Corker’s comments, for instance, he told Roll Call with a big smile that finding a fix for a bill that slapped new sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea was easier because, according to him, Trump and senior White House aides refused to engage.