Update on rhetoric rumble between ‘Liddle Bob Corker” and ‘World War III’ Trump

In a Tuesday tweet, President Donald Trump declared that “Liddle Bob Corker” was “made to sound a fool” in an interview the Tennessee Republican gave the New York Times, wherein the senator – among other things – suggested that Trump is on “a path to World War III.”

The presidential tweet: “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!”

In the New York Times interview published Monday, Corker went beyond an earlier declaration that the White House had become “an adult day care center” to be even more harshly critical of Trump. Besides the “Word War III” remark that got much national attention, for example, he said, “I know for a fact that every single day at the White House, it’s a situation of trying to contain him.”

A Times report on the Tuesday’s Trump tweet said the president was mocking Corker’s height (the senator says it’s 5-foot-7) and the remark “echoed his name calling during the presidential campaign when he labeled Senator Marco Rubio of Florida ‘Little Marco,’ dubbed Senator Ted Cruz of Texas “Lyin’ Ted” and called Hillary “Crooked Hillary.”

It was not clear what Mr. Trump meant when he said The Times set up Mr. Corker by recording him. After Mr. Trump lashed out at the senator on Sunday by saying he ‘didn’t have the guts’ to run for another term, a Times reporter interviewed Mr. Corker by telephone and recorded the call with the senator’s knowledge and consent. Mr. Corker’s staff also recorded the call and said he wanted The Times to do the same.

(Note: There’s a transcript of the interview HERE.)

From CNNAsked about Corker’s comments, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters, “Sen. Corker is certainly entitled to his own opinion, but he’s not entitled to his own facts.”

Among related rhetorical rumblings:

Lead sentence in a Politico article: Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said Monday that Sen. Bob Corker should “resign immediately” if the Tennessee Republican has “any honor or decency.”

Corker spokeswoman Micah Johnson’s reaction (via Tennessean): “It is ridiculous and does not merit a response.”

And U.S. Rep. Diane Black, running for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, had this to say in an interview with national talk show host Hugh Hewitt in responding to the question, What do you make of Senator Corker’s criticisms of President Trump?

I’m not sure that those kinds of things in the media really help us to get to where we need to be. Look, if you talk about an adult daycare center, I’m sorry, but I think the Senate is an adult daycare center. They can’t get anything done over there. We have been waiting for repeal and replace. We voted for it 60 times, and you tell me you can’t give me a product to at least give to us so we can go to conference? You know, I think that is the adult daycare center. But I’m not sure that all of this throwing these words back and forth to one another are really very helpful. And I think the American people don’t really appreciate the way people that are supposed to be in charge of this country are acting. Those types of conversations can take place behind closed doors if they want to talk that way to one another.

Former Congressman Stephen Fincher, who is exploring a run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Corker, in response to a question from the Kingsport Times-News:

“We’re not going to touch that. I wouldn’t dare get in the middle of that,” Fincher responded during an interview held Tuesday at the Sullivan County Courthouse.

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