NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A former top Tennessee GOP party executive says U.S. Senator Bob Corker’s comments about President Donald Trump this week are “balls and strikes as he sees them.”
As a Chattanooga native like Corker, former Tennessee Republican Party Executive Director Brent Leatherwood has known and worked with the senator both in the state and the nation’s capital, where Corker chairs the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“If there is one thing that he is known for, it’s calling balls and strikes as he sees them,” Leatherwood said. “And he’s always done that. He is just doing it now publicly.”
He added that, “Senator Corker does not do things without a purpose.”
Well-documented is that Corker called into question the president’s “stability” and “competence” after the Charlottesville tragedy, and more recently the “chaos” in the White House.
It led to a series of presidential tweets deriding the senator on Sunday morning.
One Tuesday, calling Corker “Liddle” and a “fool.”
Corker did some name calling as well Sunday with one tweet about the White House being like “adult daycare,” but he told the New York Times later in the day the president “doesn’t realize that…that we could be heading towards World War III with the kinds of comments that he’s making.”
It was a reference to previous presidential tweets that called North Korea’s leader “little rocket man” after the country continued testing missiles that could potentially carry nuclear warheads.
“Senator Corker said it himself, that there are a number of senators who have expressed concern privately,” added the former state party executive. “And once again, he is now doing it publicly without having to face re-election.”
The question is whether Corker’s comments are meant to influence the president or is it not falling in line behind him as many Trump supporters have suggested. Then there is also the question of Corker challenging the president in 2020.
For now, no one in the Corker camp around Tennessee is tamping down that possibility. Former presidential adviser Steve Bannon has called on Corker to “do the honorable thing and resign” his senate seat. The former state party executive said, “Bannon clearly does not know what he’s talking about when talking about honor.”