It’s no secret that Donald Trump uses Twitter to punch back when he’s annoyed by the actions of certain individuals. If one were to explore the president’s Twitter feed—it would become obvious that Twitter is likened to a bully pulpit for the president, especially when he opts to alienate those he considers disloyal or his nemeses.
Trump has on occasion fired up Twitter by sending off a flurry of Tweets, such as when tweeting about the cast of the Broadway musical Hamilton, Snoop Dogg. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Senator Mitch McConnell, not to mention his constant Twitter tirades about the former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, the latest—retweeting hitting Hillary Clinton with a golf ball.
Taking to Twitter on Sunday morning, Trump set his Twitter feed on fire once again by aiming at Republican Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. A powerful ally at one time for the president, Trump’s twitter fingers, could have potentially cost a few votes as he gears up to introduce legislation around tax reform and the Iran deal.
Perhaps triggered by Corker’s comments to the press last week that he is an agent of chaos, Trump reacted accordingly on Sunday morning, alleging that Corker “begged” for his endorsement in his 2018 re-election campaign—adding that Corker, ultimately decided not to run because he didn’t “have the guts.”
Though Corker announced late last month that he would retire at the end of next year, Corker’s chief of staff disputed Trump’s Twitter characterization of events, stating in a statement that Donald Trump had asked Corker as recently as Monday afternoon to reconsider.)
Responding to Trump’s attacks on Twitter—Corker clapped back, with a biting statement: “It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center,” he tweeted. “Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.”
It's a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.
— Senator Bob Corker (@SenBobCorker) October 8, 2017
In his “punch-back” style—the president shot off another tweet, which culminated into Corker’s exclusive interview with The New York Times Sunday—the gloves were off. Corker on Trump: “He concerns me,” Corker added, stating that Trump’s habit of undermining diplomatic negotiations on Twitter could set the U.S. “on the path to World War III.”
Bob 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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 8, 2017
In his Times interview, Corker said that nearly every Senate Republican shares his concerns. “Look, except for a few people, the vast majority of our caucus understands what we’re dealing with here,” he 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.”
Regarding Trump’s comments around Corker’s decision to retire, the Senator added: “I don’t know why the president tweets out things that are not true. You know he does it, everyone knows he does it.”
The twitter debacle between the senator and the president could place a significant strain in the White House’s legislative agenda. Corker is viewed as a viable instrument in persuading Democrats to consider bipartisan renegotiation of the Iran deal, which Trump reportedly plans to de-certify in the coming days.
“Trump’s entire Iran plan rests on a careful dance with Congress,” according to Ilan Goldenberg, the director of the Middle East Security Program at the Center for a New American Security Twitter. He further added that “Corker may be the most important partner in that dance. This is so dumb.”
Corker a member of the Senate Budget Committee, advanced a resolution last week, which paved the way for a Republican tax-reform bill—without Democrats’ approval. Corker, quick to voice skepticism of Trump’s tax plan, said last weekend “If it looks to me ‘like’ we’re adding one penny to the deficit, I am not going to be for it, O.K. I’m sorry.” Amid a very public feud between Corker and Trump, it’s likely that Corker will oppose the plan.
Corker told the Times that his remarks were meant for “an audience of one”; he suggested that the best way to reach the president is through the media. Corker’s biting remarks could backfire, giving Trump—who has placed much of his legislative agenda into the laps of Congress—someone to blame when the public inevitably grows tired of the silence and inaction of Republican lawmakers.
Addressing the latest controversy surrounding Trump and Corker, the White House spent Monday morning telling its allies that Corker is responsible for the fight, not Trump and that the senator was an attention-seeking obstructionist. It should come as no surprise—that few of Trump’s allies accepted that narrative. According to the Times, one close associate of the president, who asked not to be identified to discuss the situation more candidly, said Trump’s entire agenda could be dead because Corker has a lot of friends on Capitol Hill.
By LeNora Millen 10-09-17