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Corker: My Relationship With Trump 'Not Relevant' to Job

Image: Corker: My Relationship With Trump 'Not Relevant' to Job
Sen. Bob Corker (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

By    |   Thursday, 26 October 2017 11:45 AM

Sen. Bob Corker, following days of barbed comments about President Donald Trump, insisted Thursday that the relationship they have is "not relevant" to the job duties he needs to worry about chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee and the upcoming work on reforming the nation's tax code.

"I have not spoken to him," the retiring Tennessee Republican told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program, noting that he is "constantly in touch" with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Vice President Mike Pence, and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

"To be honest, my relationship with the president is not relevant," Corker said. "I'm dealing with the principals who conduct foreign policy, and I hope more and more he'll leave these issues to them . . . the way we feel about each other, which is not particularly positive, is irrelevant to me carrying out the responsibilities I have here. Totally irrelevant."

Corker also denied assertions, backed up by Press Secretary Sara Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday, that he has come out swinging against Trump because he wasn't named as secretary of state.

He said he was interviewed for the position, but believes Tillerson was an "inspired choice."

"I was thrilled with the person they selected, especially after I've seen how they've treated him," Corker said. "That's a ridiculous thing. I don't think Rex Tillerson has a closer friend on Capitol Hill, closer supporter, someone who wants to see diplomatic activities to succeed than Bob Corker. He knows that. The White House knows that. President Trump has — anyway, it's a ridiculous assertion."

He also denied that he started arguing because he's leaving office.

"This has been building for a long time," said Corker. "I had a private dinner with the president. I've played golf with the president. I've intervened when the staff has asked me to intervene, when he's getting ready to go off the rails which happens, as you know, often."

Corker said he's also done many things privately, but this time, the arguments continued to build.

"I think the thing that has probably caused me to be most critical is kneecapping his secretary of state when we're trying to deal with North Korea in a manner that doesn't lead us to a regional, global conflict," said Corker. "When you end up putting yourself in a position where you're not supporting trying to resolve, especially with China, this issue diplomatically, you basically are taking the country to a binary choice which can, in fact, lead to war."

Despite his morning show comments, Corker said he did not wish to rehash the fight, because he has work to do, particularly on tax reform.

"I don't get up in the morning and think about what's happening at the White House relative to outbursts," Corker said.

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Sen. Bob Corker, following days of barbed comments about President Donald Trump, insisted Thursday that the relationship they have is "not relevant" to the job duties he needs to worry about chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee and the upcoming work on reforming...
bob corker, donald trump, relationship, not relevent, work
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2017-45-26
Thursday, 26 October 2017 11:45 AM
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