President Donald Trump on Tuesday dismissed Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker’s warning that his brash and unsteady style could put the United States “on the path to World War III.” Instead, Trump said the country was “on the wrong path before” on the North Korea threat.
“All you have to do is have to take a look. If you look over the last 25 years, through numerous administrations, we were on the path to a very big problem, a problem like this world has never seen,” Trump said. “We’re on the right path right now, believe me.”
The president, however, did not describe where he envisions that path ending — and he has, on numerous occasions, opted against saying that war with North Korea was unlikely. He has said he wants to avoid a new war on the Korean Peninsula, but made clear he is ready to order U.S. military operations there if the North attacks first or if all other options have proved fruitless.
Trump was asked about Corker on Tuesday as reporters were allowed into the Oval Office while he was meeting with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. It was the third full day of the Trump-Corker feud that began Sunday morning when the president shellacked the retiring Tennessee Republican on Twitter, with Corker firing off his own tweet alleging that Trump has turned the White House into an “adult day care center.”
Corker that evening spoke with New York Times reporters and said he is concerned that Trump is running his White House and the federal government like “a reality show.”
“He concerns me,” Corker said. “He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation.”
As Trump looks for his first major legislative victory, Corker’s vote will be crucial on issues such as the coming tax overhaul bill. The Foreign Relations chairman has already said he won’t vote for any tax bill that increases the federal deficit.
But the president on Tuesday downplayed the possibility that the sharply personal feud with Corker — whom Trump referred to as “Liddle’ Bob” in a tweet earlier in the day — could derail his push to find 50 Republican senators to support still-emerging tax overhaul legislation.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 10, 2017
“I think we’re well on our way,’ Trump said of Republican efforts to craft the bill. “The people of this country want tax cuts, they want lower taxes.”
Trump also spoke about the health care executive order he will likely sign later this week: “A big percentage of people will be able to get health care, and they’ll be able to go across state lines. They’ll be able to buy from many, many competitors. … And it will not cost our country anything.”