President Trump has been publicly arguing with Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) for some time. This week, Trump tweeted calling Corker a “lightweight Senator” and saying “he couldn't get elected dog catcher.” In the hallways of the Capitol building, Corker told reporters that he believes Trump is “debasing” our country.
Corker has already announced his retirement. Not seeking reelection means that Corker has been unconstrained by potential electoral consequences of publicly arguing with Trump.
On Tuesday, another Republican senator spoke out against the president. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) announced that he would not be seeking reelection in 2018. In his announcement, though, he said Trump's behavior is “dangerous to our democracy.” Flake added that “It is time for our complicity and our accommodation of the unacceptable to end.”
This level of public criticism from members of Congress about a president from their own party seems unusual, if not unprecedented. But is it? Have we seen presidents attempt to push out lawmakers who disagree with them, regardless of party? And if more GOP lawmakers retire, who will replace them in 2018 — nationalist-leaning Republicans who don’t oppose Trump ... or Democrats?
On this episode of “Can He Do That?” congressional reporter Sean Sullivan helps us answer these questions. Plus, author and political historian Laurence Jurdem explains President Franklin Roosevelt's failed attempt to replace conservative Democrats who disagreed with some of his approach to governing.
Listen to the full episode below.
Each week, “Can He Do That?” examines the powers and limitations of the American presidency, focusing on one area where President Trump is seemingly breaking precedent. We answer the critical questions about what today’s news means for the future of the highest office in the nation.
The Washington Post and Live Nation will bring the “Can He Do That?” podcast to a live audience at the Warner Theatre on Nov. 7. In this live taping, political reporters Bob Woodward, David Fahrenthold and Karen Tumulty will join host Allison Michaels to review the past year in President Trump’s White House and the biggest moments that made people wonder “Can He Do That?” Tickets can be purchased now at Live Nation. Attendees are eligible to receive a free 30-day Basic Digital subscription to The Washington Post.