Sen. Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and an early supporter of Donald Trump’s candidacy, said Sunday that the White House had devolved into “an adult day care center” and warned that President Trump’s behavior is setting the nation “on the path to World War III.”
Corker’s comments, first made via Twitter and later in an interview with the New York Times, came in response to an extraordinary feud instigated by Trump and marked the sharpest rebuke of this president by a senior Republican officeholder.
“He concerns me,” Corker told the Times. “He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation.” He added, “I know for a fact that every single day at the White House, it’s a situation of [senior administration officials] trying to contain him.”
The explosive comments not only breach what had been one of Trump’s few personal relationships on Capitol Hill, but also jeopardize the president’s legislative priorities. As chairman of the foreign relations panel, Corker (Tenn.) will help determine the future of the Iran nuclear deal, and his support will be critical in passing broad tax cuts.
Trump alleged Sunday morning in a Twitter tirade that Corker recently “begged” him for his endorsement, did not receive it and decided to retire because he “didn’t have the guts” to run for reelection next year.
Corker tweeted a biting retort: “It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.”
Meanwhile, Corker’s chief of staff, Todd Womack, denied Trump’s characterization of his private conversations with the senator, who announced last month that he plans to retire and not seek reelection in 2018.
Trump’s outburst comes after Corker made headlines last week when he starkly suggested that the administration’s national security team provides the president with badly needed adult supervision. Corker told reporters that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly “are those people that help separate our country from chaos.”