On Tuesday, Oct. 10, President Donald Trump responded to Senator Bob Corker's recent criticisms while debuting a new nickname for the Republican congressman. In a tweet, Trump referred to the Tennessee lawmaker as "Liddle'" Bob Corker, seemingly mocking the senator in a manner similar to which the president used to mock "little" Marco Rubio. The president's full statement on Twitter read,
The failing [New York Times] set Liddle' Bob Corker up by recording his conversation. Was made to sound a fool, and that's what I am dealing with!
During the he conversation — which Martin says lasted around 25 minutes — Corker told the Times that Trump was running the White House "like a reality show" and that the president's rhetoric risked putting the nation "on the path to World War III."
Corker also said that many other Republicans in the Senate felt as concerned as he does about Trump's presidency, telling the New York Times,
Look, except for a few people, the vast majority of our caucus understands what we’re dealing with here.
He then added,
Of course they understand the volatility that we’re dealing with and the tremendous amount of work that it takes by people around him to keep him in the middle of the road.
The interview was prompted by a number of comments that both Trump and Corker made about each other over a period of days. On Wednesday, Oct. 4, after being asked to comment on another reportedly tenuous relationship in Washington D.C. — between President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — the Republican senator told reporters,
I think Secretary Tillerson, Secretary Mattis and chief of staff Kelly are those people that help separate our country from chaos.
When asked to clarify whether he meant Trump's chaos, Corker said,
They work very well together to make sure that the policies that we put forth around the world that are sound and coherent. There are other people within the administration, in my belief, that don't. Ok? I'm sorry.
Footage of Corker providing the above mentioned comments can be seen in the video below.
On Sunday morning, hours before the Times interview happened, Trump tweeted that the 65-year-old Corker — who recently decided he will not run for re-election in 2018 — lacked the "guts" to run after being told he would not get an endorsement from the president.
During his interview with the Times, however, Corker refuted the statement, telling the paper that the president had actually urged him to reconsider retirement.
Corker responded to Trump's morning tweets with one of his own, during which he suggested the president was acting like a toddler. Corker wrote,
It's a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.
Hours later, the senator's interview with the Times would occur. Now, days later, Trump has responded to the interview by calling Corker "Liddle'", with a choice of spelling that very clearly confused a number of media members.
Potential implications of Trump's feud with Corker
A feud with Corker means President Trump is engaged in a war of words with the man who sits as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations committee.
As other pundits have pointed out, a deteriorating relationship between the two men could prove to be counterproductive for Trump as the president looks likely to make big foreign policy decisions in the coming months, for which he would need the cooperation of Corker.
As for the Trump's assertion that Corker was "set up" by the New York Times, the reporter who wrote the story detailing the interview said during an appearance on CNN that it was Corker who actually called the Times, while the senator had two staffers on the call, with one of them recording.