Look, there is no doubt that Trump can be and often is an ass. Obama was wimpy and conniving. Bush seemed bewildered too often. Clinton was a used car salesman. Bush Sr. was an establishmentarian and former head of the CIA who squashed whatever bit was still alive of the “Reagan Revolution.” Presidents, generally, are not the greatest people in the world. This is one of the reasons they want to become president.
Senator Corker, one of the more moderate Republicans in the Senate, from Tennessee, got into a Twitter shouting match with the President on Sunday because Corker took some serious swipes at the prez and Trump didn’t like it. Trump responded to Corker’s New York Times interview by saying that Corker had “begged” for Trump’s endorsement in a run for a 3rd term. Something that Corker probably would need in order to win. (In TENNESSEE, as a REPUBLICAN.) Corker likely was going to be primaried by a Trump friendly candidate without such an endorsement.
Corker of course responded that he didn’t beg the president for anything and oh, and by the way, Trump is a menace to the world, and everyone hates him besides. So there. (Very catty.)
Corker didn’t mention anything about being passed over by Trump for Secretary of State or that supposedly Trump said Corker was “too short” for the job. (If Trump said this it is classless thing to say. Kissinger, a man who I have no love for, is 3 feet tall and commands respect even today.) Or that publicly getting the smack down from the president may have just hurt the fees Corker was set to extract as a lobbyist post-Senate. It’s probably no coincidence that former big government GOP leader of the Senate and now lobbyist extraordinaire Trent Lott came to Corker’s defense (was Corker headed to Lott’s shop?) in the Times.
These things have subtexts.
It is worth noting also that Trent Lott, lobbyist extraordinaire, is the closest thing to a real Senator that The New York Times could find who would take Corker’s side. The headline in The Times however reads –
That no one is “nodding” publicly is conveniently left out.
Are Republican senators, particularly of Corker’s ilk nodding in private? Probably, but they aren’t nodding for the public to see and that says quite a lot.
Corker was done and the President piled on when he probably shouldn’t have in classic New Yorker style. Corker was already wounded. (The prospect of being primaried is absolutely crushing to some of the egomaniacs in Washington. I once knew a member of Congress who was primaried and it ate at him deeply. It wasn’t just a loss. That his own party, and his own voters had taken him to the woodshed and tossed him on the heap hurt. He ALWAYS talked about it. No doubt Corker is coming to terms with a similar reality. Plus TRUMP was the reason he would likely be primaried. Ouch.)
It should be noted also that much of Washington looks down on Trump. They are deeply jealous of the real estate developer. They may have serious reservations about the President, but fundamentally – and this is NEVER talked about – they can’t believe that the grenade thrower is in the White House and they are not. This is a HUGE (to use the parlance of our time) factor. Corker very likely falls into this camp.
This isn’t to let Trump off the hook. There is much to be said for letting the results do the talking. That Corker was about to be ushered off the main stage by his own constituency largely because his constituency prefers Trump, probably should have been enough. But it wasn’t for Trump and that is probably not a good thing.
That Corker will soon be gone however probably is.