Jun 13, 2018, 2:39 PM ET

Corker says GOP's deference to Trump resembles 'cult'

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Sen. Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican, went after his fellow GOP senators for a second straight day Wednesday, saying he thinks his party is acting like a "cult" in the way it's backing away from doing anything it thinks President Donald Trump might oppose.

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"It's almost becoming a cultish thing, isn't it. And it's not a good place for any party to end up with a cult-like situation as it relates to a president that happens to be, purportedly, of the same party," the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman told reporters.

Corker was expressing frustration about a bill he wrote that would require congressional approval of any tariffs imposed over national security concerns after Trump did so to justify steel and aluminum tariffs on allies.

The measure has several Republican cosponsors but Corker has accused GOP leaders of preventing him from adding his measure as an amendment to a must-pass defense policy bill because, as Corker charged Tuesday, they say they're worried about upsetting Trump.

“No, no, no, we might poke the bear' is the language I’ve been hearing in the hallways: 'We might poke the bear. The president of the United States might get upset with us,’" Corker mocked his colleagues as saying.

Asked about Corker's "cult" comment, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn said, “I’m not going to dignify that with a response.”

PHOTO: Sen. Bob Corker talks with reporters before the Republican Senate Policy luncheon at the National Republican Senatorial Committee, June 12, 2018.Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Newscom
Sen. Bob Corker talks with reporters before the Republican Senate Policy luncheon at the National Republican Senatorial Committee, June 12, 2018.

The bill currently has eight Republican cosponsors. None is facing re-election this year, all of them have been up either in different cycles or preparing to leave the Senate, like Corker.

Corker also told reporters that he is planning to bring Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in next week for a hearing on the results of President Trump’s summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. He said Pompeo is also set to brief the full Senate.

The Tennessee senator said hearing from Pompeo would be the surest way to get a true sense of what exactly was agreed to during the meeting, reports of which have varied.

"The president has a tendency from time to time to do something ad hoc that hasn't been vetted with people around him and then sometimes they'll walk those things back," he said.

He also dismissed Trump’s optimistic tweet from early Wednesday morning declaring the North Korean nuclear threat gone.

“That would be hyperbole,” he said. Asked if such language was appropriate, he added, “I mean, if you want to use hyperbole, that's a great example of hyperbole.”

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  • Bill Kelly

    The issue isn't just deference to Trump. The issue is deference to the voters. As the article says, the only co-sponsors for the bill are those who won't be facing re-election this fall. Many Democrat-leaning voters favor the tariffs or at least the threat of tariffs to force other countries to adopt trade policies more favorable to the USA. Many Republican voters also like these policies even though the party leaders have generally opposed these policies for two decades. The issues in trade policy are no longer black and white (or red and blue). Sound-byting the issue in the way that Corker is doing isn't the way to gain support among the voters. Corker's posturing will make him popular on the Beltway cocktail party circuit, but that's not where the voters are.

  • concernedvoter

    Korean War Vets are turning in their Graves at the site of a US President bowing to the Pressures of North Korea and Praising thier leader for being Tough.. but he sees the Mayor of Puerto Rico Chest deep in Flood waters for a week saving her people, 100% US Citizens as a bad person? The guy is a Traitor and a Joke

  • Can't We All Just Get Along?

    Bob Kooker is unable to go ANYWHERE in the ENTIRE state of Tennessee without being BOOED off stage!
    this is not an exaggeration, either.
    he is so reviled by EVERYONE that he is trying to place the blame on someone else.

    he needs to look in the mirror.

    GOOD RIDDANCE!

  • concernedvoter

    We all Tried to warn the GOP but now they're finding out what happens when they let the leader of their Tea Party Run our Country..

  • sally

    As a Trump supporter I find this snide accusation insulting.

    I am most certainly not a Trump "cultist".

    I do not think the man is invincible or perfect or godlike. In fact, I doubt I would even want to spend much time in his company....or his children although I admire Melania.
    Trump has feet of clay and is very human and I do not agree with every, single thing he says or does and certainly not his annoying tweeting.
    Nevertheless, he is certainly there, in the White House, for such a time as this and he is shaking things up in DC and taking on the nasty, vile, criminal political class that is entrenched and works to preserve only its own power and wealth. In other words, The Swamp.
    Whatever Trump does that weakens those grifters makes me happy and determined to support him no matter what.

  • concernedvoter

    The Trumps are just a family of Crooks.. they've always been in bed with shady crooked people and slimey business deals.. Its just now in the open and run out of the white House..

  • brian nrndss

    YOu sir are trying to steal/limit the powers of the POTUS

    Corker was expressing frustration about a bill he wrote that would require congressional approval of any tariffs imposed over national security concerns after Trump did so to justify steel and aluminum tariffs on allies

  • brian nrndss

    it's called being a STRONG president

    Corker says GOP's deference to Trump resembles 'cult'

    By ALI ROGIN
    Jun 13, 2018, 2:39 PM ET

  • Jd Meeks

    The GOP as it was , had its chance. Just give us the House and we will do ect. Oh we cant do anything till you give us the Senate, gave them the Senate, still the same old excuses . This is why THE VOTERS picked Trump . Anymore questions little bobby ?

  • Former Earthling

    We are witnessing a right wing extremist cult, led by the criminal in the WH, take over our government by any means necessary. They allow Trump to break any laws he wishes to remain in power. This country is screwed.

  • Top shelf

    Cult-like? How about a more accurate C-word: cowards.

  • Abogado

    And as with most "cults" the ending will not be pretty ...
    . Corker is lucky he will be out of there ....

  • d big

    If all the GOP in congress added up all of their spines they could not make enough for one small person.

  • RohnertPark1

    Yes, Mr. Corker, this is the EXACT problem with the Republican congresspersons. This imbecile is running the most important and powerful country and economy in the world, and no one in his party has the cojones to speak up. The GOP is letting the tea partiers, white supremists and Bible thumpers run their party agenda through their elected mouthpiece. This is insane.

  • Colinalcarz

    Corker underestimates the number of politicians Putin has compromised.

  • rayj76

    More people in the GOP used to be like this.. but it's a dying breed. I no longer identify as a Republican since this whole Trump era came about. (I'm not a Democrat either. Just voting for whoever I think will destroy the country less at this point.) I mourn the loss of the party. Not a back bone among them.

  • lastwordoftheday

    You mean like investigating him with Mueller?

    Get real.

  • doubledouble

    Yes someone needs to stand up to don, he’s running amuck
    Don gets pushback over the weekend, gets his feelings hurt, then responds like a child with a hurt ego rather than doing what a real leader would do, which is putting his country’s needs first.
    The US and its citizens will suffer in a trade war with Canada, make no mistake, as Canada is the largest balanced trading partner the US has (its not close) and as well as being a large ready made trading partner, the US has an 8.2 billion trade surplus with Canada ( the US doesn’t enjoy trade surpluses with many countries - BTW the dairy exports are only a tiny fraction of total trade. Don isn’t telling you this.)
    The fact that imports and exports between the two countries even out on such a large scale means millions of jobs on both sides. But of course don wants to mess with that.
    But back to my point. Don is not acting in the best interests of his country here. Far from it. By threatening to “ make Canada pay.” as a result of his bruised ego, many Americans will be simply out of work, farmers, auto workers and the trickle down.
    This is nothing short of sabotage of the American economy, (currently buoyed by increased debt, - like more debt was needed). American jobs are being put on the line for trump’s personal motive, Congress needs to say enough is enough, and put a stop to this, there has to be a mechanism.
    But I’m afraid no GOP member is going to risk the rath of don in order to do the right thing.
    America, run by Spike the cowardly bully.

  • Dan Farrar

    So, tell me again why Corker isn't running for reelection?

  • BurmeseDude

    If Trump shoots Cohen and pardons himself while saying Cohen was trying to kill me; it was a self-defense and anything else is a fake news, would GOP lawmakers have any guts to stand up to him?

    It's crazy to have this kind of blatant, unabashed, perpetual liar and no lawmakers from majority party have guts to say, president is utterly unfit and needs to be impeached.

  • Joseph Scott

    This is why Trump's base deserves no credit. Many people seen these fools as cult like for some time.

  • Bill William

    Corker is right. The Republican Party is split between the Tea Party (ultra conservatives) and the moderates. If you go against Trump the Tea Party will go after you. That is why so many Republicans are passive lackey's who are in fact scared of Trumps power to end their political careers.

  • jon rhodes

    Corker has the courage to stand up and speak the truth. Lies cannot be hidden forever and so Trump's future is going to be littered with the lies that he can't remember and so he'll just keep adding them up and the weight will bring him down to a footnote (at best) in a history text book.
    The Corker's of the world deserve our respect.

  • Dan Farrar

    Corker is jealous of Trump. You can hear it in his voice and see it in his eyes. He wishes he was the cult figure and president instead of Trump.

  • TexasVulcan

    In Texas, it was a "race to the bottom" as GOP people in the primaries all vowed they were the most pro-Trump. Ugh.

  • EWT4 us

    Censorship is alive and well: Good spelling and literary abilities have nothing to do with IQ. It could be argued that the better “speller" you are, the more it restrains your IQ, because you get hung up on trivial things; your brain just isn’t free to think; too bogged down in crossing the t’s and dotting the i's. That’s what editors are for. When it comes to intelligence, it’s the substance that counts, not the spelling or grammar of immaterial or inconsequential details. You know what he meant, so don’t reveal your idiot indignity to the world from getting hung up on a misuse of a spelling. (or then again, maybe you didn’t know what he meant and you just need a little more clarity, you know, more than those with higher IQ’s would need, who knew what he meant). Gathering, memorizing, and regurgitating information is not intelligence. Oops did i have a misuse of grammar somewhere?
    By the way, for those who get hung up on the trivial pursuits, Trump is in some good company with mis-spellings.
    Examples you say….here are a few
    Albert Einstein
    Benjamin Franklin
    Ernest Hemingway
    W.B. Yeats
    John F. Kennedy
    Leonardo Da Vinci
    Winston Church hill
    Agatha Christie
    Fannie Flagg
    Jane Austin
    John Irving
    John Keats
    F. Scott Fitzgerald
    William Faulkner
    Alfred M. Butts

    I do acknowledge, just becauseTrump might be in good company with others that mis-spell, it doesn’t equate to him having the same intelligence as the others in the group; nor, everyone in the group as equally having the same intelligence.

    We all have a right to express ourselves. Peace and Love!