Corker: Trump and ‘tremendous frustration’ create ‘a very volatile mix’

Excerpt from U.S. Sen. Bob Corker’s interview Sunday on Meet the Press with Chuck Todd, responding to a question on whether his retirement announcement on the same day that Roy Moore defeated Sen. Luther Strange in the Alabama Republican U.S. Senate primary symbolizes a shift in the GOP:

“Well, there’s a lot happening, no question. I think the election in Alabama… There were some things around Luther’s ascendancy that people resented. Let’s face it. He knows that. And so I think, uh, I hope that the election of the type of candidate that was elected there doesn’t say that much about the Republican Party. I think it’s more about the resentment that people have towards the fact that they don’t see Washington solving problems.

“And, you know, the president’s helped with that by, you know, mocking the leadership on both sides of the aisle. But I think it was an outgrowth of tremendous frustration with Washington. And let’s face it, Chuck, people have a lot of frustration with their state in life, right? And so, you combine those two together and it creates a very volatile mix.”

… “I can’t speak to all the dynamics that are happening. All I can- I’ll tell you this. There’re a lot of people up here that work hard. And yet, people are frustrated. I’m frustrated. I understand it. I get it.”

On his decision not to seek a third term:

“Look, it was hard to leave. Look, I mean, I told people in Tennessee that I couldn’t imagine serving more than two terms. For this entire year, I’ve struggled over this. I really have because I know of the difference that I’m able to make here. But when you talk about the enjoyment, a big part of the enjoyment has been never, ever thinking about a political race.”

Answering a question about President Trump’s public criticism of football players “taking a knee” during the national anthem:

“So, you know, look, I would not have weighed in. I know it plays well to the base. I know that’s a constant thing that’s on the president’s mind. In my own family, okay, there are people that (have) differing views about this whole issue. But I think that probably it’s best for us to stay with the things that we have control over and let the private sector, let the people who are involved in ticket sales, let the people that are involved with athletes, let them make decisions about what needs to happen on the field.”

Video of the full interview is HERE.

UPDATE/NOTE: Corker’s office chose some different comments to include  in a press release on his appearance. Here it is:

News release from Sen. Bob Corker:

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – In an interview with Chuck Todd that aired on NBC’s “Meet the Press” today, U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a member of the Senate Budget Committee, discussed foreign policy, tax reform, and his decision not to seek reelection. Excerpts follow.

On his decision not to seek reelection:

“I told people that I couldn’t imagine serving more than two terms,” said Corker. “And Chuck, I’ve felt a total freedom since I’ve been here to be myself. To speak frankly, to work with the other side of the aisle. That’s obviously needed. I can count. I can do math… And so, I’ve never, ever, ever thought about electoral politics in what I’m doing… I’ve enjoyed the freedom of conducting myself as a businessperson who’s come to Washington to solve problems.”

“And now I’ve got 15 months of even more freedom, in many ways,” added Corker. “And I’m going to do everything I can to have the biggest impact possible.”

On whether he will support tax reform legislation that adds to the deficit: 

“I’m willing to accept the realities of where we are, and that is that we have a policy base. In other words, taxes,” said Corker. “It’s kind of like the doc fix. You know, we kept making up the fact that this was going to change. So, I’m willing to accept current policy, number one. I think that’s rational. And I’m willing to accept a reasonable score on dynamic growth. A reasonable score on dynamic growth. [Joint Committee on Taxation] does those. There are some other groups that do it. But if it, if it looks like to me, Chuck, we’re adding one penny to the deficit, I am not going to be for it, OK? I’m sorry. It is the greatest threat to our nation. The greatest threat to our nation. And so, look, I voted against the NDAA the other day. That was a painful vote. I mean, you know, I support the military. They know that. But when you blow through even the president’s budget and you use huge amounts of OCO, overseas contingency operations, to pay for it, I’m sorry, I’m opposed to that.”

“It’s like, Chuck, we’ve entered a party atmosphere here,” added Corker. “You know, everybody was a fiscal hawk, kind of. Not really, but kind of up until the election. Now, it’s like there’s a party going on up here, OK? Heck with revenue. Heck with the, you know, constraining spending. So yes, I will remain a deficit hawk until I leave here. And I’m looking so forward to this tax reform debate because the one thing that hasn’t been discussed is the $4 trillion in base broadeners that have to occur for this to be successful. And every lobbyist in the world is going to be up here fighting those.”

On North Korea: 

“I think that there’s more going on than meets the eye,” said Corker. “I think [Secretary] Tillerson understands that every intelligence agency we have says there’s no amount of economic pressure you can put on North Korea to get them to stop this program because they view this as their survival… Should we step it up a little bit? The answer is absolutely yes. I mean, we should step it up. I mean, you know, we’re moving to a place where we’re going to end up with a binary choice soon.”

“I don’t think we’re cornering ourselves,” added Corker. “But if we don’t ramp up the diplomatic side, it’s possible that we end up cornered.”

On the performance of the administration: 

“I’m not trying to be critical here, but some of the words have been left out,” said Corker. “What I said is he has not yet demonstrated some of the competence and some of the stability… And that we need for him to be successful. I mean, the country needs for him to be successful.”

“I think that General Kelly has brought in an air of discipline that has been transformative as far as how the White House operates,” added Corker. “I do think they did a great job with Texas and Florida during the hurricane(s). Very professional. I thought it took a lot of courage by the president to change his long held position about Afghanistan. So, I’m seeing changes.”

One Response to Corker: Trump and ‘tremendous frustration’ create ‘a very volatile mix’

  • Stuart I. Anderson says:

    Sounds like a senator with a 56% lifetime Heritage score. “Best to stay with the things that we have control over. . . .” Never mind things like patriotism, respect for national rituals, the very things that are so necessary to keep us a national community rather than mix of interest groups constantly at each others throats. Not in Corker’s wheelhouse I’m afraid. He’s just up in the signal tower throwing the switches without any knowledge as to where the trains are coming from or any conviction as to where they should be going.

    O K, what is done is done, but surely we can do so much better than this next August.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *