President Trump lashed out Tuesday at Sen. Bob Corker (Tenn.), mocking the Republican Foreign Relations Committee chairman's physical stature and charging that he was “made to sound a fool” when he brutally critiqued the president's fitness for office in a recent interview.
Trump, who considers himself a master brander for assigning derisive monikers to political opponents, debuted in a Tuesday morning tweet his nickname for the senator from Tennessee: “Liddle” Bob Corker.
The president tweeted, “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!”
Trump was referring to Corker's explosive interview Sunday with the New York Times, in which the senator warned that the president's reckless behavior was setting the nation “on the path to World War III” and said “he would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation.”
Speaking at the White House on Tuesday morning, Trump strongly pushed back on Corker's World War III critique.
"We were on the wrong path before. All you have to do is take a look," Trump, responding to Corker during a meeting with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. "Through numerous administrations we were on a path to a very big problem.
"We're on the right path right now, believe me," he added.
The Times recorded its on-the-record telephone interview with Corker, as is standard practice for interviews with top newsmakers, and audio clips of the conversation have been played repeatedly on cable news shows.
Corker's comments came after Trump attacked him in a trio of tweets Sunday morning. Though White House officials said Trump was furious with Corker for his statements to the Times, the president resisted responding to Corker's critique for a day and a half.
But he decided Tuesday, shortly before his scheduled intelligence briefing, to punch back at Corker.
Corker, who is 5 foot 7 inches tall, is not the first political rival to be branded by Trump with the “Liddle” moniker. During the 2016 Republican presidential primaries, Trump called Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who is 5-foot-9, “Liddle Marco.”
Trump gave nicknames to other rivals as well, labeling former Florida governor Jeb Bush “Low Energy Jeb” and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) “Lyin' Ted.”