Dear Bob Corker: Trump Has Also Been Starting Wars Here at Home
There is great delight in the chatter classes about — first — Bob Corker’s quip about the White House serving as an adult day care center caring for old people with dementia.
And then this article with a series of accusations about how unstable Trump is.
Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, charged in an interview on Sunday that President Trump was treating his office like “a reality show,” with reckless threats toward other countries that could set the nation “on the path to World War III.”
In an extraordinary rebuke of a president of his own party, Mr. Corker said he was alarmed about a president who acts “like he’s doing ‘The Apprentice’ or something.”
“He concerns me,” Mr. Corker added. “He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation.”
But I want to point to several passages most people aren’t focusing on.
First, Corker claims that he still likes his golfing buddy Trump.
The deeply personal back-and-forth will almost certainly rupture what had been a friendship with a fellow real estate developer turned elected official, one of the few genuine relationships Mr. Trump had developed on Capitol Hill. Still, even as he leveled his stinging accusations, Mr. Corker repeatedly said on Sunday that he liked Mr. Trump, until now an occasional golf partner, and wished him “no harm.”
Then, Corker says he doesn’t regret normalizing Trump during his campaign.
One of the most prominent establishment-aligned Republicans to develop a relationship with Mr. Trump, the senator said he did not regret standing with him during the campaign last year.
“I would compliment him on things that he did well, and I’d criticize things that were inappropriate,” he said. “So it’s been really the same all the way through.”
And ultimately Corker stops short of deeming Trump unfit, in spite of all the comments that make it clear almost all Republicans do view him as unfit (which, indeed, he would be if he required adult day care).
“As long as there are people like that around him who are able to talk him down when he gets spun up, you know, calm him down and continue to work with him before a decision gets made, I think we’ll be fine,” he said.
Mr. Corker would not directly answer when asked whether he thought Mr. Trump was fit for the presidency. But he did say that the commander in chief was not fully aware of the power of his office.
“I don’t think he appreciates that when the president of the United States speaks and says the things that he does, the impact that it has around the world, especially in the region that he’s addressing,” he said. “And so, yeah, it’s concerning to me.”
This is important for several reasons.
For the most part, Corker is focusing on the damage Trump will do internationally. He mentions North Korea, matters on which he fantastically imagines the worst Secretary of State in recent memory, Rex Tillerson, is “negotiating,” and the Iran Deal.
When specifically asked if Trump is unfit, Corker focused on his role as Commander-in-Chief, bracketing all the other parts of being President, as a way to avoid calling the man unfit, which might require action under the 25th Amendment.
And, still, Corker still normalizes the golfing buddy who has spent over two years sowing division in this country and ten months working to dismantle the country internally.
Yes, Corker mentions Trump’s racist comments after Charlottesville, and then confesses he still likes the man who made them.
It’s nice that Corker has finally made it clear his Republican colleagues recognize what the rest of us have too, that Trump is a disaster. But he did so in such a way as to absolve himself and his colleagues from direct action, choosing instead to leave Trump in place to continue his war on America and Americans, even while hoping that Tillerson and his co-babysitters can keep Trump’s fat fingers off the nuclear button.
These are great one-liners from Corker.
But these are not responsible comments. Congress is a co-equal branch of government. And if almost all Republicans in the Senate recognize that Trump is unfit to be president, their constitutional duty is to do something about it, not to continue to normalize him in the hopes he’ll finish dismantling the laws and policies protecting vulnerable Americans.