Retiring Republican Sen. Bob Corker supported Trump in 2016. He won't be doing that again.
Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker has lately been hailed as a strong, courageous voice against Donald Trump within the Republican Party.
He has accused Trump of “publicly castrating” his secretary of state. On Tuesday morning, he proclaimed Trump a danger to national security and admonished him to leave global diplomacy “to the professionals.” His words prompted an unhinged, incoherent Twitter rant, to which Corker replied, “Alert the day care center.”
But his most forceful condemnation of Trump came shortly after, in an exchange with CNN reporter Manu Raju:
RAJU: Do you regret supporting [Trump] in the election?
CORKER: Let’s just put it this way, I would not do that again.
RAJU: You wouldn’t support him again.
CORKER: No, I think that he’s proven himself unable to rise to the occasion. I think many of us, me included, have, you know, tried to, you know — I’ve intervened, I’ve had private dinner, I’ve been with him on multiple occasions to try to create some kind of aspirational approach, if you will, to the way that he conducts himself, but I don’t think that that’s possible, and — he’s obviously not going to rise to the occasion, this president.
RAJU: Do you think he’s a role model to children of the United States?
CORKER: No, absolutely not.
It would be tempting to cast Corker’s words as a courageous stand. In fact, they are proof of his cowardice, and the cowardice of his whole party.
It is not necessary to have a “private dinner” with Trump to see that he is incapable of personal growth or leadership, let alone that he is not a “role model for children.” He exhibited all these same behaviors — spiteful attacks, racism, misogyny, a basic ignorance of the president’s responsibility in world affairs, and a gleeful delight in hurting people — on the campaign trail.
And Corker wholeheartedly supported him then.
Since Trump took office, Corker has been a reliable rubber stamp for just about everything Trump wants to do.
Corker did not vote against a single one of Trump’s Cabinet nominees — including blatantly dangerous or unqualified people like Jeff Sessions and Betsy DeVos. He also did not vote against a single one of Trump’s extremist federal judge picks, including one who compared abortion to slavery. And he twice voted to let Trump take away health care from tens of millions of people.
Regardless of his critical statements, Corker is still supporting the Trump agenda. Last week, he told reporters that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s budget resolution is a “hoax” on the American people — and one minute later he walked into the Senate chamber and voted to pass it.
Corker’s attitude is the Republican Party in a nutshell. Politically principled, except when winning an election is on the line. Which is the only time it really counts.