Tag Archives: Bob Corker

Listen to the lame duck senator

Let’s connect a few dots.

CIA Director Gina Haspel, who was kept away from an earlier congressional briefing on the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, today told senators that the Saudi crown prince ordered the journalist’s death in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Donald Trump has cast doubt on the CIA’s findings. He said Prince Mohammad bin Salman “may have or may not have” played a role in the murder of Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen who worked for the Washington Post.

OK, then Haspel tells senators what she and her agency believe.

Senators from both parties then came out of the closed-door meeting and talked publicly about what they believe. The crown prince is dirty; he’s filthy; he did what the CIA says he did.

Sen. Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican who is leaving office at the end of the month, said there is “no doubt” that if the crown prince were put on trial for the murder, he would be “convicted in 30 minutes.”

Corker isn’t a lawyer by training. However, he’s a smart fellow who listens to what others tell him.

If only the president of the United States would trust implicitly the intelligence experts’ view that our so-called Middle East “ally” is a cold-blooded killer.

And if only he would act appropriately with that knowledge.

Lame ducks find their voices

Bob Corker’s lame duck status has enabled him to find the guts to say what he ought to have said all along.

The Tennessee Republican is leaving the U.S. Senate at the end of the year. He hadn’t been overly candid about Donald J. Trump until just before he announced his decision to call it a career.

Now, though, he’s talking about what he perceives to be a “cult” developing with his political party. The cult is devoted blindly, according to Corker, to the president who has seized the party by the throat, has throttled it and has bullied intraparty foes incessantly.

Corker isn’t alone among Republicans who have discovered their courage in the waning months of their political career. He joins Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, who has finally — finally! — called out the president by name for the manner he has chosen to govern the nation.

I fear that Corker’s cult description is far more accurate than even he would prefer. Cult leaders traditionally imbue their “followers” with fear over political retribution if they cross the man/woman at the top of the pecking order.

That just might explain the Republican reluctance to challenge the continual stream of lies and assorted nonsense that fly out of Trump’s mouth. Indeed, the president’s lying mouth has kicked into overdrive since his summit with Kim Jong Un, the North Korean despot who gave up virtually nothing but got a ton of concessions from the president who proclaims himself to be a “great negotiator.”

Why don’t they call the president out for his effusive praise of Kim, the tyrant who murders his foes, his family members, starves his fellow Koreans and threatens the world with nuclear annihilation? He has broken previous promises and kept his people in the dark — quite literally — while he lives in relative opulence.

Is it that cult thing to which Sen. Corker has referred? If only more members of his party would speak as candidly and honestly about what is happening within the halls of power.

Trump ‘no sure thing’ for 2020?

A lame-duck Republican U.S. senator from Tennessee has weighed in with an interesting — but possibly worthless — conjecture about Donald J. Trump’s political future.

Bob Corker — who has announced his intention to retire at the end of the year — has said it is not a “sure thing” that the president will seek re-election in 2020, even though he has formed a committee and has begun raising money for an expected effort at winning a second term.

I won’t comment on whether Corker knows something no one else on Earth knows. He does pose an interesting notion.

Consider what might be coarsing through the president’s self-acknowledged ample brain.

  • He is facing a possible “blue wave” election later this year, with Democrats taking control of the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate. That means he could become the third president ever impeached by the House of Representatives. I am not going to bet the farm that a Senate controlled by a slim Democratic majority would convict him.
  • Trump also might face a primary challenge in 2020. There could be any number of Republicans who are furious enough with the president to challenge him in two years. They could draw substantial political blood in the process.
  • The president might have to watch every single legislative agenda item on his to-do list stalled over the “Russia thing,” the porn queen scandal, the nagging tempest over his business dealings.

What in the world might that portend if hell freezes over and he actually is re-elected in November 2020?

Does the president really want to subject himself to the humiliation that might await him? I mean, he is a narcissist extraordinaire. It’s all about him as president, just as it was all about him as reality TV celebrity and business mogul.

This is the payback that well might await a man who built his entire pre-politics reputation on self-enrichment and self-aggrandizement. Public service was never part of his modus operandi.

Might he decide to bail after one term? I have no idea. My hope is that he calls it a career. But with Donald Trump, well, one never can predict a single thing.

POTUS seeks to reaffirm his smartness

Why in the name of Mensa membership does Donald John “Smart Person” Trump Sr. keep doing this?

He keeps telling us how he got an Ivy League education. He keeps insisting he’s a smart guy. He insists as well that he’s fabulously rich, that he’s the best negotiator and deal maker since the beginning of Planet Earth.

The president was responding to the attack that came from retiring U.S. Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., both of whom have peeled the bark off of Trump in recent weeks.

So we hear — yet again! — from the Leader of the Free World that he really is the smartest guy in the proverbial room.

My experience over many decades of living — while working with other really smart people — has told me this fundamental truth: Those who really possess serious intellectual wattage never have to say how smart they are. They are not compelled to assert what should be obvious to those who know them.

I have members of my family along with a few friends who are bona fide geniuses. None of them has expressed — at least in my presence — that they are loaded with intellectual firepower.

My life’s experience has taught me another key lesson. It is that those who insist on telling you how smart and rich they are usually are neither.

Sen. Flake joins the anti-Trump exodus

What do you know about that?

Another Republican U.S. lawmaker of considerable standing has bailed out on his public service career and is launching a fusillade against the president of the United States — who hails ostensibly from the same political party.

Jeff Flake of Arizona has announced his retirement from the Senate. He took the floor of the body today and raked Donald John Trump Sr. over the coals, following the lead of another key Republican. Bob Corker of Tennessee has announced his retirement as well and has just recently said if he had to do it all over again he couldn’t — and wouldn’t — support a Trump presidential candidacy.

Folks, this is getting very strange.

Flake was facing a challenge from within his party. The Trump Wing of the GOP — however one chooses to define it — had planned a primary challenge for Flake. Why is that? Because Flake had the temerity to write a book that is highly critical of Trump’s tenure as president.

Flake quadrupled down today in his retirement announcement speech. As the Washington Post reported: The charged remarks from Flake — a totem of traditional conservatism who has repeatedly spoken out about his isolation in Trump’s GOP — came hours after Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) questioned the president’s stability and competence, reigniting a deeply personal feud with the president.

Flake unloads

More from the Post: Flake added: “We must stop pretending that the degradation of our politics and the conduct of some in our executive branch are normal. They are not normal. Reckless, outrageous and undignified behavior has become excused and countenanced as ‘telling it like it is’ when it is actually just reckless, outrageous and undignified.”

Hmm. Who do you suppose he’s talking about?

Does it matter to the Trumpkins who keep standing by their guy? Oh, probably not. Sen. Flake, though, has said out loud what has needed to be said since the day Donald Trump was elected president of the United States.

Sen. Corker is going out with a splash

Bob Corker isn’t going to leave the U.S. Senate quietly. He won’t skulk off into the night when his public service career comes to an end.

Oh, no. The Tennessee Republican who announced his intention to retire after the 2018 midterm election is going to make sure he puts his “mark” squarely on Donald J. Trump’s backside.

Corker is now in the midst of a Twitter fight with the president. He has many more friends on Capitol Hill than Trump can claim. One of them happens to be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is standing by his Senate colleague.

McConnell calls Corker a valuable member of the Republican Senate Caucus. And when he’s asked directly whether he agrees with Corker’s recent criticism of Trump, McConnell does a version of the Texas two-step. He doesn’t answer the question directly, which is a sort of code for “Yes, I agree with my friend.”

Feud heats up

The long-term impact of Corker’s feud with Trump has yet to be known. The president has tweeted already that he intends to oppose anything that Corker supports. Do we take Trump at his word? And do we now expect Corker to oppose anything that Trump puts forth?

Corker isn’t the longest-serving U.S. senator by a long shot. In this particular climate on Capitol Hill, though, he has emerged as a thoughtful and wise voice of reason. With the rhetoric heating up and with the president seemingly at odds with virtually all so-called “establishment Republicans,” this feud with Corker is taking on some added relevance.

Sen. Corker is a lame duck. That doesn’t mean he’ll be a lame member of the U.S. Senate. He’s already declared that Trump “hasn’t yet demonstrated” the competence he needs to be president. He has said that members of the president’s Cabinet at keeping the nation “separated from chaos.”

It’s gone downhill from there in rapid fashion.

Trump keeps demonstrating the truthfulness of Corker’s analysis.

There goes the Trump-Corker ‘friendship’

This is just a hunch, but I’m almost willing to bet that Donald J. Trump can kiss goodbye Sen. Bob Corker’s support for any major legislation the president manages to present to Congress.

These two men, both Republicans, once were thought to be potential ticket mates in the 2016 presidential election. Trump then went with Mike Pence. Corker, from Tennessee, returned to the U.S. Senate after the election.

Something strange happened. Corker began speaking his mind and from his heart about the kind president Trump has become. He believes Trump “hasn’t yet demonstrated” the competence to lead.

It’s getting personal

It gets worse. Corker announced his retirement from the Senate after the 2018 election, then launched another salvo at Trump, saying that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary James Mattis and White House chief of staff John Kelly are saving the nation “from chaos” that Trump threatens to create at every turn.

Trump now has taken to Twitter — imagine that! — to say Corker lacks “guts.” Corker isn’t lying down for it; he’s firing back.

Yep, here we go again. The president of the United States/commander in chief/leader of the free world is blasting a governmental colleague for, um, speaking from his heart.

I need to point out that Sen. Corker is no back-bench nobody. He’s a smart and thoughtful lawmaker who happens to chair the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

So help me, Donald John Trump cannot take it. His skin is paper thin. His blood reaches a full boil quickly and with virtually no effort from the person who criticizes him.

Spare me the crap about Trump “being quick to respond to criticism.” Presidents sign on to the job understanding that they’ll develop critics. It goes with the territory. It’s an unwritten part of the presidential job description.

I would suggest that Trump read up on that kind of thing. Except he doesn’t need to study anything. Why? Because he’s a “very smart person” who surrounds himself “with the best people.”

Simply … sad.

Retirement liberates GOP senator

U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker is a free man these days.

The Tennessee Republican has announced his impending retirement from the Senate — and is now free to speak his mind.

Take, for example, his statement this week about three of Donald Trump’s key advisers and how they manage to save the United States from the “chaos” created by the president.

He spoke of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis and White House chief of staff John Kelly. These men, said Corker, are managing to maintain some semblance of order.

Corker speaks out

Corker didn’t wait to announce his retirement before speaking candidly about Trump. After the president’s hideous reaction to the Charlottesville riot — including the “many sides are responsible” comment — Corker said the president “hasn’t yet demonstrated” the competence he needs to lead the nation.

Now this latest critique in which he said, “I think Secretary Tillerson, Secretary Mattis and Chief of Staff Kelly are those people that help separate our country from chaos.”

Oh, and of course we now have Tillerson reportedly firing off an enraged comment in a meeting that he believes the president is a “moron.” It’s also been reported that Tillerson attached a descriptive and profane adjective in front of “moron.” He has not denied saying it.

There you have it. A president with no prior government or public service experience of any kind is now leading the world’s greatest nation. Except that he’s incapable of exhibiting the temperament he needs to avoid the “chaos” that he invites whenever and wherever possible.

Trump’s fans applaud him for “telling it like it is.” Now such much-needed candor and honesty are coming from the mouths of the president’s “allies.”

Retirement can be a liberating experience … don’t you think?

Sen. Corker: POTUS lacks ‘competence’ to lead

Bob Corker has just delivered a seriously sharp rebuke to Donald John Trump Sr.

Why is it important that such a rebuke comes from Corker?

He’s a Republican U.S. senator; he hails from Tennessee, one of the states that seceded from the Union in 1861; he is ostensibly allied with the president on most public policy issues.

The backdrop for Corker’s rebuke gives his statement plenty of gravitas.

The president weighed in on that terrible Charlottesville tragedy over the weekend. He has, in effect, taken up with the white supremacists who provoked the riot that killed a young woman who was among the counter protesters who battled with hate groups that were protesting the taking down of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

The nation is being swallowed up by the controversy that has ensued. Democrats, understandably, have been outraged by Trump’s remarks. Many Republicans have spoken out against racial or religious intolerance. Few of them in Congress have singled out the president and ascribed specific blame to him for inflaming the nation’s emotions in the wake of the Charlottesville tragedy.

Corker, though, has laid it out there.

“The President has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to be successful,” Corker said in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Welcome aboard, Sen. Corker. Many millions of Americans have been saying those very things — and a lot more — about the president. Many of us even said so while he was campaigning for the presidency. A few folks predicted he would govern like a maniac.

Count me as one who now believes that Trump is worse than I feared he would be. I was hoping he might be able to grow into the job of president.

Corker did use the phrase “not yet been able” when discussing Trump’s performance. The word “yet” suggests Corker believes — or hopes — the president will figure it out. I have little faith of that occurring.

Still, Sen. Corker’s rebuke is strong. It also is important.

Bipartisanship returns to Senate

corker and cardin

Take a look at this picture.

You see two U.S. senators — Republican Bob Corker of Tennessee and Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland — yukking it up after the Senate approved a measure to require senatorial review of the Iranian nuclear deal worked out by the Obama administration with the mullahs in Iran.

Why is this picture so noteworthy? It’s because the measure passed 98-1 in an overwhelmingly bipartisan manner.

It’s not often these days you see Democratic and Republican congressional leaders standing side by side in front of cameras to bask in something they’ve done together.

They did so this week.

Good for them.

What’s brought the smiles to both men? It’s a measure that says the Senate gets to sign off on a treaty that administration officials hope to finalize later this spring or perhaps in early summer. It calls for Iran to scale back dramatically its nuclear development program and its aim is to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon — which Israel says it intends to do and which no one this side of Tehran wants to occur.

It’s good that the Senate and the House will weigh in when the time comes.

According to RealClearPolitics.com, “The legislation gives Congress 30 days to review a deal once the full details are submitted to them. They then have the right to approve or disapprove of the deal, or do nothing, which would allow it to go forward. If they disapprove, President Obama can veto that measure, which would require 67 votes to override and actually halt an agreement, an unlikely outcome.”

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2015/05/07/senate_nearly_unanimous_in_backing_review_of_iran_deal_126524.html

The lone “no” vote came from upstart freshman Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, the author of that letter that GOP senators sent to the Iranian mullahs threatening to void any treaty that President Obama signs.

Well, that’s Cotton’s view.

I prefer to hope that the Senate will deliberate this treaty carefully when it arrives on Capitol Hill.

I also prefer that it do so in the same bipartisan spirit it showed in approving the measure granting its authority to do so.

Now the House of Representatives will consider it. Follow the Senate lead, House members.