Remember the old adage about “sticks and stones?” The Republicans on Capitol Hill are worrying about how much the “words” between President Trump and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) will “hurt them.”
The feud between the president and the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has caused Trump to insult Corker’s height and he also accused the senator of “begging” him for a presidential endorsement. Corker called the White House an “adult daycare center,” and he quipped that “somebody must have missed their shift.”
At Tuesday’s White House briefing, Sarah Huckabee Sanders intensified the public spat accusing Corker of having “rolled out the red carpet for the Iran deal.” She also was vague when asked about Stephen Bannon’s call for Corker to “resign immediately.” She said: “That’s a decision for Sen. Corker and the people of Tennessee.”
In Corker’s defense, his aides noted that he ultimately voted against the Iran deal that was one of President Obama’s most prized accomplishments.
The GOP party is concerned about this vicious back-and-forth. It comes at a time when Trump is struggling to make legislative progress on his agenda.
“There are not many Republican members of the Senate who have a lot of respect for the political skills of the president,” said GOP strategist and pollster Whit Ayres. Ayres former clients include Senators Rubio and Corker.
Other critics of the strained relationship Trump has with senators note that he has failed to keep his party in line for crucial votes on healthcare. Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) proved to be a hindrance to the White House agenda.
Now the deep concern for Republicans is tax reform. “When you have a Congress so narrowly divided, [tax reform] is a monumental task, complicated by the president picking fights — and very bitter, personal fights — with people whose votes he has to have,” said John Stipanovich, a GOP strategist and Trump critic with ties to the Bush family. “John McCain has a brain tumor. Bob Corker is retiring. Susan Collins is probably going to be governor of Maine,” Stipanovich added. “They are not scared of Donald Trump!”
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) was asked about the feud on Monday and replied, “Both ought to cool it. Next question.”
On Tuesday, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) told CNN, “I’m supportive of both of them. I’d like to see it stop.”
“Trump is running an outside game working to appeal to his core base of support and doesn’t necessarily care how this may or may not affect his relationship with the Senate,” said Republican strategist Ron Bonjean.
I think the GOP leaders in the Senate may want to remember what the President did to Jeb Bush and more recently the NFL. The President made mincemeat of the former governor of Florida and yesterday the NFL caved. A battle with cities and Democrats can be lost but, a battle in his party can be won.
Do you agree with the Republican concern? Will these heated words “hurt them?”
Credit: The Hill