Trump blasts Franken, but stays silent on Moore and his own accusers

President Donald Trump, who has largely stayed mum on the allegations of sexual abuse against Alabama Senate Republican candidate Roy Moore, blasted Democratic Sen. Al Franken Thursday night after a woman said he groped and kissed her without her consent.

By weighing in on Franken, Trump potentially invites another round of scrutiny over the past accusations of sexual assault that have been levied against him — a risk that a source told CNN earlier this week was partially behind his decision to not comment on the Moore controversy.

“The Al Frankenstien picture is really bad, speaks a thousand words. Where do his hands go in pictures 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 while she sleeps?” Trump wrote of a photo in which Franken appears to grab a woman’s breast while she was asleep during a 2006 USO tour. The Minnesota Democrat has apologized for his behavior and said he welcome an ethics probe into his conduct.

He continued, “And to think that just last week he was lecturing anyone who would listen about sexual harassment and respect for women. Lesley Stahl tape?”

Trump was referring to a 1995 New York magazine article quoting Franken joking in the “Saturday Night Live” writers’ room about drugging and raping journalist Lesley Stahl. The article became an issue for Franken during his 2008 Senate election, for which he apologized at the time, though he later walked back the regret in his 2017 memoir.

The President has declined to weigh in forcefully, however, on the Moore revelations, which unfolded as he was abroad in Asia. When the allegations first surfaced, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement on behalf of the President that Moore should drop out if the allegations of sexual misconduct leveled against him are true, but Trump, himself, has declined to comment further and ignored several shouted questions from reporters when asked whether Moore should drop out of the race.

“The President said in his statement earlier this week that, if the allegations are true, then that Roy Moore should step aside. He still firmly believes that,” Sanders told reporters on Thursday, noting, “This is a decision people of Alabama need to make, not the President.”

Sanders did say, however, that a Senate investigation into the allegations against Franken were an “appropriate action.”

Trump’s relative silence on Moore is is in large part rooted in his own history of facing sexual misconduct allegations, a Republican close to the White House told CNN earlier this week.

In conversations in the West Wing on Wednesday, Trump expressed apprehension about being dragged into the topic of sexual assault or harassment if he weighs in.
“He’s worried about the conversation moving to his past accusers,” the Republican familiar with the matter said, noting that the President believes his accusers were unfair and some of Moore’s may be, too.

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway offered a different explanation for Trump’s silence on Moore, telling Fox News on Friday that, while the story was old news by the time he returned from Asia, the Franken controversy was “brand new.”

“Well, Al Franken was a brand new news story yesterday and the President weighed in as he does on the news of the day often enough. The Roy Moore story is eight days old and the President put out a statement on his Asia trip on that,” Conway said.
She added, “And since then, our press secretary has spoken on behalf of the president by saying that he believes the people of Alabama will sort out what to do with Roy Moore and with that election.”

But Moore’s controversy has been a frequent news story since Trump returned, and two new Moore accusers came forward as recently as Wednesday.

More than a dozen women have accused Trump of sexual assault, and his comments captured in the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape during the campaign threatened to derail his presidential bid. Trump has denied the assault allegations and accused the women of lying.

[CNN]

Trump reverts to campaign-trail name-calling in Twitter rant calling for probe of DNC

President Trump issued a flurry of tweets over a five-hour span Friday urging the Justice Department to investigate Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee over a joint fundraising agreement they signed in August 2015.

Trump’s accusations follow publication by Politico of an excerpt from former acting DNC Chair Donna Brazile’s upcoming book. Brazile alleges she found “proof” that the 2016 Democratic primary was rigged in Clinton’s favor.

Previous presidents have avoided even seeming to direct the Justice Department on whom to investigate — but not Trump.

Trump reverted to his campaign-trail name-calling of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), again referring to her as “Pocahontas.”

He also in one post called Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) “Crazy Bernie.” Trump has described this kind of rhetoric as “modern day presidential.”

Trump’s epic Twitter rant took place in the hours and minutes before he was set to depart the South Lawn via Marine One for his Air Force One flight to Hawaii to kick off his 12-day swing through Asia.

Implicit in the messages was more criticism of Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions, though Trump did not mention the nation’s top prosecutor by name.

Asked later Friday if he would fire the attorney general if he doesn’t investigate Trump’s Democratic political rivals, the president said, “I don’t know.”

Two White House officials quickly cautioned against reading too much into Trump’s comments, reiterating that he has no plans to fire Sessions. And although the White House maintains that Trump’s tweets are “official record,” it says Trump has not ordered Sessions or the FBI to do anything related to Democrats.

The aides said the tweets were a media savvy way to deflect attention from the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

This week, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates, who also had a role in the campaign, were indicted on 12 counts, and former Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying about his dealings with Russians who were offering “dirt” on Clinton.

[Los Angeles Times]

Trump: Suspect Entered U.S. in ‘Diversity Visa Lottery’, Blames Schumer

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that the Uzbek immigrant suspected of murdering eight people in New York City with a rental truck entered the U.S. through the “Diversity Visa Lottery Program” and the president charged Sen. Chuck Schumer and Democrats had loosened the nation’s borders.

Trump did not provide any supporting evidence for the claim about the visa program, which was being discussed on the morning TV program “Fox and Friends” that the president indicated in his tweets he was watching.

“The terrorist came into our country through what is called the ‘Diversity Visa Lottery Program,’ a Chuck Schumer beauty. I want merit based,” Trump tweeted.

“We are fighting hard for Merit Based immigration, no more Democrat Lottery Systems. We must get MUCH tougher (and smarter) @foxandfriends,” Trump tweeted, citing the morning program whose hosts were discussing the visa lottery.

“Senator Chuck Schumer helping to import Europes problems, said Col.Tony Shaffer. We will stop this craziness! @foxandfriends,” Trump added, appearing to reference a retired U.S. Army Reserve Lieutenant Colonel who appeared on the program Wednesday.

Moments later, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that the the suspect in the attack had entered the U.S. “through a diversity program, a lottery program.” He did not elaborate.

Schumer, for his part, shot back at Trump on Twitter: “I guess it’s not too soon to politicize a tragedy.”

In a statement, the New York senator slammed Trump for “dividing America” and called on the president not to follow through on proposed cuts to “vital anti-terrorism funding.”

“I have always believed and continue to believe that immigration is good for America,” Schumer said. “President Trump, instead of politicizing and dividing America, which he always seems to do at times of national tragedy, should be focusing on the real solution — anti-terrorism funding — which he proposed cutting in his most recent budget.”

The Trump-Schumer back and forth came less than 24 hours after eight people were killed and about a dozen more were injured when a motorist in a rented pickup truck deliberately drove down a bike path in lower Manhattan and mowed down several people before crashing into a school bus in what officials said was a terrorist attack.

Police found a note inside the truck that was used indicating the suspect claimed to have carried out the attack for the Islamic State terrorist group.

The suspect was identified as a 29-year-old Uzbek immigrant named Sayfullo Saipov, who entered the United States in 2010, law enforcement officials said. It wasn’t immediately clear under what circumstances Saipov came to the United States.

According to The New York Times, he had obtained a green card, giving him permanent legal resident status in the U.S.

Trump, in his tweets Wednesday, was apparently referring to the Diversity Immigrant Visa lottery, which was established by the Immigration Act of 1990. That bill was passed with bipartisan support and signed into law by then-President George H.W. Bush.

The program allows the State Department to offer 50,000 visas annually to immigrants from countries with low immigration rates.

Democrats quickly hit back against Trump’s claims.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that “it was kind of absurd (for Trump)…to be using it as a fulcrum for … this kind of a debate.”

“I don’t think this is the time to get political,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “There is no doubt we have to be smarter and have more intelligence… but there is also no doubt that is not the time to play politics, to foment hate, this is not the time to divide.”

At least one Republican defended the diversity visa lottery.

“To be honest with you, I’ve known a number of people in New York who come in under the lottery system, they’ve made outstanding contributions, they’ve become citizens,” Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., a former House Homeland Security Committee Chairman, told Fox Business Channel. “So that really is separate from the idea of the vetting.”

According to the State Department, diversity visa lottery applicants must meet certain education and work experience requirements, like having obtained “at least a high school education or its equivalent” or “two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience to perform.”

People who are not from an eligible country can also qualify if their spouse was born in an eligible country.

The State Department determines selectees through a randomized computer drawing, its website states.

In 2013, a bipartisan group of senators known as the “Gang of Eight” proposed an compromise immigration reform bill that would have eliminated the diversity lottery. The bill did not make it through Congress.

[NBC News]

John Kelly Says He Will “Absolutely Not” Apologize To Frederica Wilson

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly told Laura Ingraham Monday night he was too busy to “watch very much in the TV” about the day’s indictments and guilty pleas by former Donald Trump campaign figures in Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian election meddling.

Ingraham, opened the debut of her Fox News Channel 10 PM program The Ingraham Angle, [you can watch debut below] with zippy thoughts on What Is America?, accompanied by photos of Old Frank Sinatra:

Politics is supposed to be a career devoted to public service…but for too long was dominated by special interest, big business and…media elites.

The politicians were supposed to…run the government, not to run you over with it!

Americans voted for Trump because they tired of being bullied by politicians and so called experts who gave us endless wars, saddles us with $20 trillion in debt, and left us with a border more wide open than Harvey Weinstein‘s bathrobe.

But the debut’s headline was her interview with Kelly, whose been MIA media-wise since his dramatic appearance at a White House press briefing, in which he savaged Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson. Ingraham first asked him about  the day’s indictments of the president’s former campaign chair Paul Manafort, his associate Rick Gates, and “another minor aide” in the Trump administration, aka foreign relations adviser George Papadopoulos.

“All of the activities, as I understand it, that they were indicted for was long before they ever met Donald Trump or, or had an association with the campaign,” Kelly answered, inaccurately.

Monday’s news on former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos was that he had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia while working for the Trump campaign, and has been cooperating with the special counsel investigation since his July arrest.

“But I think the reaction of the administration is, let the legal justice system work. Everyone’s presumed innocent and we’ll see where it goes,” he added.

Asked if the staff is “worried that when indictments start being handed down, that this is just the first, second, third shoe to drop, but there will be many more to follow?” Kelly answered, “I think the staff is very comfortable with simply serving the nation. The vast majority of the staff would have nothing to do with any of this kind of thing. So there’s no worry about it. Everyone is just doing the things that they were hired to do to serve the nation.”

Ingraham moved on to his comments about Rep Frederica Wilson after she claimed to have heard President Donald Trump telling La David Johnson’s widow her husband knew what he was signing up for, but that it hurt anyway. At a White House press briefing, Kelly slammed Wilson for listening in on that private moment, and recalled his previous encounter with the Florida congresswoman. Kelly called her an “empty barrel,”  claiming that, at the dedication of an FBI building named after two slain agents, Wilson took the podium to boast that she’d raised the funds for the building.

Ingraham noted clips of that dedication show did not brag about getting funding, though, she hastened to add, Wilson “certainly used the word ‘I’ a lot.”  Video showed Wilson actually boasted about getting quick action on naming the building after the two slain FBI agents.

Kelly wasn’t backing down, explaining Wilson did more talking before and after the formal ceremony.  “It was a package deal,” he said, adding, “I don’t want to get into it.”

“Do you feel like you have something to apologize for?” Ingraham wondered.

“No. Never,” Kelly shot back. “I’ll apologize if I need to. But for something like that, absolutely not. I stand by my comments.”

Last month, after FNC announced it had parted ways with Eric Bolling, the network announced Sean Hannity was moving from 10 PM ET to 9, to take on MSNBC’s ratings powerhouse Rachel Maddow. Ingraham got the 10 PM timeslot.

Media

Corker says White House should stay out of tax debate; Trump fires back with insult

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) admonished President Trump on Tuesday to stop interfering in the debate over tax legislation and said his volatility could lead the United States into war, prompting a slew of Twitter insults from the president and renewing a long-simmering feud just hours before he is scheduled to visit Capitol Hill.

“I would just like him to leave it to the professionals for a while and see if we can do something that’s constructive,” Corker said on Good Morning America, referring to the debate over restructuring the tax code. “If you start taking things off the table before you get started, you make it very difficult.”

Trump returned fire by insulting Corker on Twitter, saying the retiring senator “couldn’t get elected dog catcher in Tennessee.”

“Isn’t it sad that lightweight Senator Bob Corker, who couldn’t get re-elected in the Great State of Tennessee, will now fight Tax Cuts plus!” the president tweeted.

The feud lays bare tensions between Trump and congressional Republicans that are already complicating GOP efforts to advance tax cuts, the party’s last-ditch attempt at a major policy accomplishment this year.

Trump has promised changes to the tax code will not affect tax-deferred retirement plans, the mortgage interest deduction or the deduction for charitable contributions. Republicans like Corker, one of the GOP’s most vocal Trump critics, say these promises raise expectations prematurely while making it more difficult for lawmakers to make up the revenue that will be lost to tax cuts.

The strained relations between the president and Republican senators, which go far beyond Trump’s fight with Corker, add uncertainty to the GOP’s effort to cut taxes and enact other policy priorities.

[Washington Post]

Bob Corker says Trump ‘utterly untruthful president’

Influential Republican Senator Bob Corker has unleashed a blistering attack on US President Donald Trump, calling him “utterly untruthful”.

In a series of television interviews, Mr Corker accused the president of lying, adding that he debased the US and weakened its global standing.

Mr Trump fired back on Twitter, calling the Tennessee senator a “lightweight” who “couldn’t get re-elected”.

The pair met at a Senate lunch on Tuesday to discuss tax reform.

“He is purposely breaking down relationships we have around the world that had been useful to our nation,” Mr Corker said on CNN after the Republican president criticised him on Twitter.

“I think the debasement of our nation is what he’ll be remembered most for,” he said.

The Foreign Relations Committee chairman, who was an early supporter of Mr Trump, added that the president has “great difficulty with truth”.

The good news for Donald Trump is he’s managed to push his feud with a grieving war widow out of the headlines. The bad news is he’s done it by pushing a stake through Republican unity at a time when the party needs to come together to pass big-ticket tax reform through Congress.

The latest blistering exchange between Republican Senator Bob Corker and the president has all the hallmarks of one of Mr Trump’s classic intra-party campaign spats.

There’s the quick Twitter trigger finger, the derogatory nicknames (“liddle” Bob Corker), the over-the-top hyperbole (“he couldn’t get elected dog catcher”).

Republicans – including those who bore the brunt of Mr Trump’s vitriolic attacks – largely shrugged off those earlier rows as primary-season posturing and unified behind their unlikely standard-bearer in the autumn general election.

Mr Corker, on the verge of Senate retirement, isn’t backing down, however. And the president is once again raising the voltage.

The party is learning the hard way that there’s only one Donald Trump – whether he’s a real-estate mogul, a reality TV star, a candidate or a president.

If you question his leadership, his views or his attitude, he’ll unleash the whirlwind, no matter the consequences.

When asked if he regretted supporting Mr Trump during the 2016 election, the senator said: “Let’s just put it this way, I would not do that again.”

His comments came after Mr Trump lashed out at the Republican in a series of tweets.

Last month Mr Corker announced that he would not seek re-election at next year’s mid-term elections.

Mr Corker had voted against the 2015 agreement to curb Iran’s development of nuclear weapons, calling it “flawed”, but later said Mr Trump should not “tear up” the pact.

Mr Trump’s tweets on Tuesday appeared to be in response to Mr Corker’s comments on ABC News’ Good Morning America, in which he suggested the president should stop interfering in the debate on tax legislation.

The president went to Capitol Hill on Tuesday in an attempt to rally Senate Republicans around a White House-backed tax reform plan.

A protester was detained by police after he hurled Russian flags at Mr Trump as he walked through the building with top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell.

“Trump is treason!” shouted the demonstrator, who identified himself as Ryan Clayton from Americans Take Action, a campaign group calling for Mr Trump’s impeachment.

“This president conspired with agents of the Russian government to steal an election!” he cried. “We should be talking about treason in congress, not about tax cuts!”

Mr Corker’s support for the tax plan could be crucial as Republicans seek to pass the legislation in the upper chamber.

The lawmaker also raised concern with the president’s behaviour toward North Korea, saying Mr Trump “continues to kneecap his diplomatic representative, the secretary of state”.

He added that when it comes to diplomacy with Pyongyang, Mr Trump should “leave it to the professionals for a while”.

Following Mr Trump’s attack, Mr Corker fired back on Twitter.

The spat reignites an ongoing feud between the two men, which blew up earlier this month when Mr Corker responded to an attack from Mr Trump saying: “It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center.

“Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.”

[BBC News]

Trump’s feud with Dem lawmaker over phone call stretches into fifth day

President Trump on Saturday referred to a Democratic congresswoman as “wacky” and said she “is killing the Democrat party.”

His comments are the latest response to a controversy that Trump’s Saturday morning tweet is now stretching into its fifth day.

Trump also offered faint praise to the “Fake News Media” for covering the story of his feud with Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) over a phone call to a military family following the death of a soldier in Niger.

“I hope the Fake News Media keeps talking about Wacky Congresswoman Wilson in that she, as a representative, is killing the Democrat Party!” he tweeted.

Wilson earlier this week described a Tuesday phone conversation between Trump and the widow of Army Sgt. La David Johnson, who was killed in Niger. Trump initially called Wilson “wacky” in a Thursday tweet, accusing her of lying about the content of the call after “secretly” listening in.

Wilson was in a car with the fallen soldier’s family when Trump called, and the family confirmed her description of the call, which took place on speakerphone.

Wilson said the president told the widow her late husband “knew what he signed up for … but when it happens it hurts anyway.” Johnson’s mother told The Washington Post that the president disrespected the family with his call.

The White House later appeared to confirm what Trump said during the call but has accused Wilson of politicizing a “sacred” issue.

“It stuns me that a member of Congress would have listened in on that conversation. Absolutely stuns me. I would have thought that was sacred,” White House chief of staff John Kelly said Thursday.

He went on to slam the Florida lawmaker for taking credit for securing “$20 million” in funding for a FBI field office in Miami in 2015, saying it demonstrated her true nature.

“A congresswoman stood up, and in a long tradition of empty barrels making the most noise, stood up there in all of that and talked about how she was instrumental in getting the funding for that building, and how she took care of her constituents because she got the money, and she just called up President Obama, and on that phone call, he gave the money — the $20 million — to build the building, and she sat down, and we were stunned,” Kelly said.

Wilson pushed back, calling Kelly’s accusations “crazy” and said that the building “was funded long before I got to Congress.”

The White House stood by Kelly’s criticism despite newly released video showing he misrepresented her remarks.

“As Gen. Kelly pointed out, if you are able to make a sacred act like honoring American heroes all about yourself, you are an empty barrel,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Friday.

“If you don’t understand that reference, I’ll put it a little more simply — as we say in the South, all hat no cattle,” she added.

Wilson is known in Congress for her ornate hats.

“I feel very sorry for him because he feels such a need to lie on me and I’m not even his enemy,” Wilson told The New York Times of Kelly on Friday. “I just can’t even imagine why he would fabricate something like that. That is absolutely insane. I’m just flabbergasted because it’s very easy to trace.”

She has promised to keep pressing the administration for answers on what happened in Niger, which is now the subject of an investigation by the Pentagon and the FBI. Militants ambushed the U.S. soldiers in the incident, and questions linger about the quickness of the U.S. response.

“I will always speak up for my constituents…and the truth!” Wilson tweeted Friday night.

[The Hill]

Trump calls lawmaker ‘wacky,’ says she told ‘total lie’ about military call

President Donald Trump on Thursday again rebutted a Florida congresswoman’s account of a call between him and the widow of a soldier killed in Niger, accusing her of listening in on the conversation and telling a “total lie” to the media.

“The Fake News is going crazy with wacky Congresswoman Wilson(D), who was SECRETLY on a very personal call, and gave a total lie on content!” the president tweeted late Thursday.

The comments come as another direct rebuke of Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson of Florida, who on Tuesday said that during a call with the widow of Army Sgt. La David Johnson, Trump had said that “he knew what he signed up for … but when it happens, it hurts anyway.”

Trump on Wednesday morning quickly denied the claims, saying Wilson “totally fabricated” the comments and that he had “proof” to the contrary — proof he has yet to unveil. Wilson returned fire by calling Trump “a liar” and saying that the conversation had been put on speakerphone and overheard by four witnesses.

“The sad part about it is, he didn’t know La David’s name,” Wilson told POLITICO on Wednesday.

Cowanda Jones-Johnson, the mother of the soldier’s mother, told The Washington Post Wednesday that she was present during the call and that she stood by Wilson’s description.

The White House said Wednesday that it did not have a recording of the conversation.

The nasty exchange between public officials ignited a furor over the White House’s response to fallen military officers, just days after Trump insinuated that his predecessors had not always extended the same courtesies to military families while in office.

White House chief of staff John Kelly on Thursday delivered an impassioned defense of the president’s conversation with the Johnson family, but also didn’t deny that Trump uttered the words that Wilson said he used. Kelly did rebuke Wilson, calling her “selfish” for criticizing the president’s words during a condolence call.

“I was stunned when I came to work yesterday morning and brokenhearted at what I saw a member of Congress doing,” he told reporters at the White House press briefing. “A member of Congress who listened in on a phone call from the president of the United States to a young wife — and in his way tried to express that opinion that he’s a brave man, a fallen hero.”

[Politico]

Trump: NYT ‘set Liddle’ Bob Corker up by recording his conversation’

President Donald Trump wrote online Tuesday that “Liddle'” Sen. Bob Corker had been unwittingly recorded by The New York Times, the newspaper to which the prominent Republican lawmaker offered a scathing criticism of the president.

“The Failing @nytimes set Liddle’ Bob Corker up by recording his conversation. Was made to sound a fool, and that’s what I am dealing with!” Trump tweeted Tuesday, pinning a diminutive nickname to the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

In an interview published Sunday by the Times, Corker (R-Tenn.) said Trump is treating the presidency “like he’s doing ‘The Apprentice’ or something” and expressed concern that the president could put the nation “on the path to World War III.” Corker, once under consideration to be Trump’s secretary of state, told the Times that the president “concerns me” and “would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation.”

Despite the president’s assertion that Corker was unaware he was being recorded, excerpts from the interview’s transcript indicate that the senator knew the conversation was on the record. Jonathan Martin, the Times reporter who interviewed Corker, wrote online that two of the senator’s aides had sat in on the phone call and “made sure after it ended that I was taping, too.”

Earlier Sunday, Trump and Corker launched criticisms at each other via Twitter, with Trump firing the first salvo, writing that “Corker ‘begged’ me to endorse him for re-election in Tennessee. I said ‘NO’ and he dropped out (said he could not win without my endorsement).” In another post, Trump added that the Tennessee senator “also wanted to be Secretary of State, I said ‘NO THANKS.’ He is also largely responsible for the horrendous Iran Deal!”

Corker quickly responded with his own online post, writing that “it’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.”

The feud between the two men seemed to grow slowly in recent weeks as Corker, who has announced he will not seek reelection in 2018, grew increasingly public with his criticisms of the president. In a particularly sharp barb last week, Corker praised Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary James Mattis and White House chief of staff John Kelly as “those people that help separate our country from chaos.”

[Politico]

Trump Lashes Out at GOP Sen. Corker — Who Then Calls White House ‘an Adult Day Care Center’

President Donald Trump and Sen. Bob Corker traded jabs in a series of tweets on Sunday, with the president first saying the Tennessee Republican “didn’t have the guts to run” for re-election and Corker then calling the White House “an adult day care center.”

Later on Sunday, in an interview with The New York Times, Corker suggested Trump was putting the nation on the path to “World War III” and said Trump acts “like he’s doing ‘The Apprentice’ or something.”

Trump tweeted Sunday morning that Corker “begged” him to endorse him to re-election and the president said “NO.” Trump then said that Corker dropped out because he did not think he could win without his endorsement.

“He also wanted to be Secretary of State, I said “NO THANKS,” Trump wrote in another tweet.

In a third tweet, Trump said that hence he would expect Corker to “be a negative voice” and stand in the way of his political agenda, adding that the Tennessee senator “Didn’t have the guts to run!”

Corker fired back, tweeting that “the White House has become an adult day care center” and that “Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.”

The Twitter feud came after Corker said earlier this week that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly “are those people that help separate our country from chaos.”

“I deal with people throughout the administration and he from my perspective is in an incredibly frustrating place,” Corker said of Tillerson, later adding, “He ends up not being supportive in the way that I would hope a Secretary of State would be supported, and that’s just from my vantage point.”

“They work very well together to make sure the policies we put forth across the world are, you know, sound and coherent,” he said of Tillerson, Mattis and Kelly. “There are other people within the administration in my belief that don’t. OK? Sorry,” he said with a laugh.

Corker told The Times that he is concerned about Trump and said that many of his fellow Senate Republicans shared those concerns.

“Look, except for a few people, the vast majority of our caucus understands what we’re dealing with here,” Corker said. “Of course they understand the volatility that we’re dealing with and the tremendous amount of work that it takes by people around him to keep him in the middle of the road.”

He added that Trump has hurt American diplomacy and negotiations with his Twitter usage.

“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,” Corker said. “And so, yeah, it’s concerning to me.”

A top aide for Corker also refuted Trump’s tweets, saying that the president called Corker on Monday afternoon and asked that the senator reconsider his decision not to run for re-election.

“Last week President Trump called Senator Corker and asked him to reconsider his decision not to seek re-election and said I would have endorsed you,” Corker’s Chief of Staff Todd Womack told NBC News on Sunday.

Womack said Corker and Trump had a similar conversation in September, when Trump said he would campaign for Corker if he decided to run again.

He also took issue with Trump’s comment regarding the Iran nuclear deal, where the president said Corker was “also largely responsible for the horrendous Iran Deal!”

“We led the opposition to the Iran deal and there would have been no vote in Congress had it not been for Corker’s bill,” Womack said, referring to the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015.

“We forced a vote on the Iran deal, [the Obama Administration’s] plan was to go around Congress,” Womack said.

Womack characterized Corker as an opponent to the deal.

Nevertheless, Trump tweeted later on Sunday afternoon that Corker “gave us the Iran Deal, & that’s about it.”

“We need HealthCare, we need Tax Cuts/Reform, we need people that can get the job done!” he said.

Earlier Sunday, before the Corker tweets, Mick Mulvaney, the White House’s director of the Office of Management and Budget, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he enjoys working with Corker and, now that he isn’t seeking re-election, “I think it sort of unleashes him to do whatever, and say whatever, he wants to say.”

“But I don’t think we’re that close to chaos anyway,” he said, adding, “I’m in the White House every single day and I’ve never seen the chaos that gets reported outside. I’ve never seen the infighting, the back-biting.”

Late last month, Corker announced that he would not see re-election, fueling speculation that he might challenge the president in a GOP primary.

And Sunday’s comments come after reports last week that Tillerson was on the verge of resigning this past summer amid mounting policy disputes and clashes with the White House.

[NBC News]

 

 

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