trump and corker

Trump and Corker Feud: The Facts

Donald Trump continues to lash out at all those who speak critically of him.  No one is immune: Not Gold Star families, first-responders to national disasters, or senators from his own party.  His feud with Tennessee senator Bob Corker is just another case of Trump’s gaslighting and lies that come when faced with dissidence.  Of course, in the Trump and Corker feud, Trump has the facts wrong.

Trump and Corker: Presidential Endorsement

Bob Corker opted not to run for reelection in 2018 despite being a fairly popular senator (he won 2012 reelection with 64 percent of the vote and has a +23 approval rating) and holding a key committee chairmanship (Foreign Relations).

Trump, in a series of tweets, claimed Corker decided not to run because the president refused to give his endorsement.

But that’s not true.  Corker’s Chief of Staff told NBC News that “President Trump called Senator Corker and asked him to reconsider his decision not to seek re-election and said I would have endorsed you.”  That followed a September conversation in which Trump pledged to campaign for Corker should the senator have ran again.  Multiple witnesses and people familiar with the conversations agree that Trump’s tweets have no basis in reality.

The Iran Deal

Trump’s obsessed with ending the Iran Deal, a deal he despises despite Iran abiding by it and thoroughly curtailing its nuclear capabilities.  Ending the Iran Deal threatens our foreign policy and sanctity of our word.  With misplaced anger towards the deal, Trump launches invective at all those who support it.  And somehow, despite all facts to the contrary, Trump thinks Corker gave us the Iran Deal.

In the land of facts, Bob Corker vocally opposed the Iran Deal, writing op-eds against it and urging his colleagues to vote against the agreement.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, when asked to defend Trump’s blatant falsehood, spat out another lie, claiming that Corker’s cosponsorship of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act paved the way for the Iran Deal.  That’s “astonishingly wrong,” said Richard Nephew, a senior research scholar on global energy policy at Columbia University, as the act “gave Congress the most direct way of killing the deal, quickly and easily.”

Corker also voted against the Iran Deal, which can be easily fact-checked by checking voting records (here’s the vote to end cloture that would then allow the Senate to vote on cancelling the deal).  Why would Trump bother to lie about something so easily fact-checked?

Corker “Couldn’t get elected dog catcher in Tennessee”

One of Trump’s favorite insults is alleging that his enemies couldn’t be elected dog catcher in their respective states.  Attacking the electoral abilities of politicians seems odd for a man who only received 46 percent of the popular vote, only slightly more than Thomas Dewey received in 1944 and Michael Dukakis earned in 1988.  Most Americans don’t recognize those names.

But of course, when Trump and Corker compare electoral histories, Corker wins.  Corker won his 2012 reelection with 64.9 percent of the vote; Trump received 60.7 percent of the vote in Tennessee.  In other words, Corker earned a higher vote share in Tennessee than did Trump despite 2012 being a better year for Democrats (Barack Obama took around 51 percent of the popular vote to Hillary Clinton’s 48 percent).

As mentioned, Corker has a solid approval rating: 52 percent approval of Corker’s job as senator and only 29 percent disapprove.  Trump holds a 52 percent approval in Tennessee, but also a 42 percent disapproval, leaving him +10 whereas Corker is +23.  I suppose by Trump’s logic he also could not be elected Tennessee’s dog-catcher.

Corker’s Stature

Trump has little understanding of world affairs.  Corker, on the other hand, does.  Until Trump can explain North Korea’s rationale for developing nuclear weapons, until he can explain the religious differences in the Middle East and which factions fight which, until he can display even the slightest understanding of foreign policy, his criticism of the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations for work on foreign policy really has little merit.

Lastly, a note on Trump’s character.  Trump and Corker initially got along well — Corker supported Trump and helped the candidate develop foreign policy.  Trump even considered making Corker his Secretary of State.

He chose not to for the worst reason imaginable: He’s only 5’7″.  Seriously.  A deciding factor in Trump’s pick for Secretary of State was height, not competency, knowledge, or respect from global leaders.  I suppose it’s little surprise that the reality TV show president cares only for appearance.

But the world cares about substance and, as in almost every single issue, this Trump and Corker fight — from its inception with Trump’s vanity — shows Trump’s a pathological liar hellbent on deceiving the American people.

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