Strange statement by Bob Corker considering that he is constantly asking me whether or not he should run again in '18. Tennessee not happy!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 25, 2017
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.
Corker is well-regarded within the Republican establishment and was a dutiful supporter of Trump during last year's campaign, trying to educate the political novice-turned-presidential nominee on foreign policy and even introducing him at a rally. Trump in turn considered Corker as a possible vice-presidential running mate and secretary of state.
But their relationship began to rupture last week. Following Trump's wavering and widely denounced responses to the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Corker criticized the president's leadership.
“The president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful,” Corker told reporters in Tennessee. “And we need for him to be successful.”
Corker's comments drew considerable media attention, but for a full week Trump resisted responding.
When White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked Thursday about Corker's statement, she said, “I think that's a ridiculous and outrageous claim and doesn't dignify a response from this podium.”
Corker's comments may not have dignified a response from the briefing room podium on Thursday, but they evidently did dignify a response from the presidential Twitter handle as Trump on Friday issued his rebuke to Corker on social media.