Donald Trump

Trump following Corker’s advice in Alabama campaign?

Excerpt from a Politico report on President Donald Trump’s decision to campaign in Alabama for Sen. Luther Strange, who may be an underdog to controversial former judge Roy Moore in an upcoming special Republican primary runoff election for the U.S. Senate seat previously held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions:

Trump’s unexpected move sets the stage for a showdown between the president and his recently departed chief strategist, Steve Bannon, who is all-in for Moore. Bannon has cast the Alabama race as an important clash between grass-roots conservatives and the Washington establishment — and a test for whether other incumbent senators can be successfully challenged by insurgents in 2018.

… Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, who is up for reelection in 2018 and faces the prospect of a primary challenge, spoke extensively with Trump on Friday. According to two people familiar with the conversation, Corker told Trump that Strange’s fate hinged on the president going to bat for him.

… The save-Strange campaign comes at a time of growing concern in the GOP that lawmakers up for reelection in 2018 will face treacherous primary fights that divert party resources from unseating Democrats. Bannon has described the Alabama race as the initial front in a midterm war aimed at undermining McConnell.

A Moore win, Bannon has argued, could open the floodgates for conservative insurgents in states like Arizona, Nevada and Tennessee. The addition of truculent conservatives backed by Bannon to the Senate could also make it more difficult for McConnell to corral his conference.

 

Corker-Trump peace talk deemed ‘very productive’

President Donald Trump and Sen. Bob Corker met for more than an hour at the White House on Friday for what the senator’s office described as a “very productive discussion” that covered a broad range of topics, reports Michael Collins.

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Trump nominates U.S. Marshal for East TN

David G. Jolley, who once was U.S. Marshal for West Tennessee, has been nominated by President Donald Trump to become U.S. Marshall for East Tennessee.

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Corker possible target of Bannon anti-incumbent campaign

President Donald Trump’s closest allies are planning a slate of primary challenges against Republican senators, reports Politico, and Tennessee U.S. Sen. Bob Corker is one of the potential targets.

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Trump calls Haslam for 10-minute hurricane talk

President Donald Trump called the governors of Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee on Sunday to assure them of federal support from the impact of Hurricane Irma, according to multiple media outlets.

From WATE and the AP on his conversation with Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam:

“The president did call the governor early this morning and they talked for about ten minutes, mostly about hurricane preparations and the state of Hurricane Irma. He called to stress the federal government’s willingness to help in any way it can when the storm reaches Tennessee,” said Governor Haslam’s Press Secretary, Jennifer Donnals.

The American Red Cross has opened five shelters in Tennessee ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Irma.

Trump names Tennessean USDA general counsel

President Donald Trump has formally nominated West Tennessee native Stephen Vaden as general counsel for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He’s held the position, which is subject to Senate confirmation, on an acting basis since March and was part of Trump’s “beachhead team” at USDA before that.

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Corker says Trump tweet hasn’t hurt his support in TN

Sen. Bob Corker, who has yet to confirm that he will run for a third term next year, told reporters after a speech in Hendersonville Tuesday that he hasn’t felt a lot of blowback from a recent President Trump tweet declaring “Tennessee not happy!” the senator’s criticism of the president, reports the Associated Press.

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Trump tweet: ‘Tennessee not happy!’ with Sen. Bob Corker

President Trump attacked another fellow Republican on Friday, taunting Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) after the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman last week publicly questioned the president’s stability and competence, reports the Washington Post (and a lot of other media outlets).

Trump said Friday morning on Twitter, “Strange statement by Bob Corker considering that he is constantly asking me whether or not he should run again in ’18. Tennessee not happy!”

Trump’s attack on Corker comes as the Republican National Committee is convening in the senator’s home state of Tennessee for its summer meeting. One of Trump’s sons, Eric, addressed the Nashville gathering on Thursday night.

Corker becomes the fifth GOP senator this month alone to draw the president’s ire. On Thursday, Trump attacked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) over his management of the health-care bill as well as the looming showdown over raising the federal government’s debt limit. At a Tuesday night rally in Phoenix, Trump went after — though not by name — Arizona’s U.S. senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, both Republicans. And last week, Trump slammed Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), a longtime Trump punching bag.

Note: A Corker spokeswoman declined comment on the presidential remark, which could indicate the senator — widely assumed to readying for a reelection campaign, though he hasn’t announced — is actually giving serious consideration to retirement and seeking Trump’s advice. Earlier related post (pre-tweet) HERE.

UPDATE/Note: Breitbart News suggests that the Trump tweet may have inspired state Sen. Mark Green to reconsider his previous announcement about having no plans to run against Corker.

“I’ve already told Senator Corker my thoughts about his comments about the President and that’s as far as I intend to go at this point,” Green told Breitbart News on Friday.

Green announced in early August that he did not intend to run against Corker in 2018 based on how “everything sits right now.”

Asked whether recent events, including Trump’s tweet on Friday, have sufficiently altered the political landscape for him to reassess how things “sit,” Green declined to comment.

Alexander and Corker on government shutdown talk

Comments from Tennessee’s U.S. senators, Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, on President Donald Trump raising the possibility of a federal government shutdown if Congress doesn’t approve his plans for building a wall between the United States and Mexico:

Alexander, as quoted in The Tennessean: “The last time the government was shut down, it hurt small businesses all over East Tennessee at peak tourist season for people coming to the Great Smoky Mountains,” Alexander said after a Tennessee Restaurant Association meeting in Nashville.

“I wasn’t elected to shut down the government,” he said. “I was elected to make it run for the benefit of tax payers. I’m sure that’s what we will do.

Corker (part of a WKRN report on the senator’s visit to Clarksville): “People are feeling robust about the future and they’ll continue to feel that way if we keep government running,” said Corker. “Sometimes we have those little blurbs as we have seen in the past that create a lot of insecurity.”

White House spokeswoman: Corker comment ‘ridiculous’ (Joe Carr didn’t like it either)

Somewhat belatedly, the White House had a response Thursday to U.S. Sen. Bob Corker’s comment last week that Donald Trump hasn’t demonstrated the competence or stability needed by a president. And at least one prospective Corker challenger in the 2018 GOP primary, former state Rep. Joe Carr, is criticizing the comments as well.

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ABOUT THIS BLOG

Former Knoxville News Sentinel capitol bureau chief Tom Humphrey writes about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.

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