Jun 12, 2018, 5:47 PM ET

Corker erupts at GOP colleagues too afraid to take on President Trump


Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker erupted on the Senate floor Tuesday afternoon — oftentimes raising his voice and wildly flailing his hands — his animated anger implicitly aimed at his GOP colleagues, whom he accused of being afraid of President Donald Trump.

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"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 said, deriding his colleagues.

Corker was infuriated over objection to his tariff legislation, which would seek to limit Trump's authority to issue national security tariffs. The bill, which has 13 co-sponsors, would require the president to receive Congressional approval before restricting trade on the grounds of national security.

Corker has been angling to get his legislation added as an amendment to the defense appropriation bill, a must-pass measure that the Senate is currently debating. On Tuesday, he asked that his amendment be called up so it could be voted up-or-down by the Senate. But his Republican colleague, Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, objected to the motion.

In recent days, Republican leaders have opposed the measure, citing their concerns over tying the president's hand in negotiating a better trade deal.

The objection incensed Corker, who went on a lengthy and impassioned speech bemoaning his frustrations.

"Because senators, United States senators who are elected by the people in their state, don't want to cast a tough vote, they block everybody from voting," Corker said.

"I heard the senior senator from Texas saying the other day, 'well gosh, we might upset the president of the United States before the midterms! So gosh, we can't vote on the Corker amendment because, we're taking rightly so, the responsibilities that we to do with tariffs and revenues. We can't do that because we'd be upsetting the president,'" Corker said, referring to Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn.

"I can't believe it," Corker exclaimed.

"If people don't like it, they can vote up or down," Corker went on. "But no, the United States Senate right now, on June 12, is becoming a body where, well, we can do what we can do, but my gosh if the president gets upset with us, we might not be in the majority, and so let's not do anything that might upset the president."

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  • StrontiDog

    When Corker gets all worked up. . .he REALLY sounds like Jeff Foxworthy. He is sooo definitely getting ready to start running for the GOP ticket in 2020.

  • robWeeve

    poking the bear? he talking about russia?

  • Bob Carrick

    I am saying this in all seriousness
    It's time to start talking again about the Orangeman's mental stability IMO

  • Voltair

    "Little Bob" Corker was not even qualified to be a senator much less wade into deep water against his betters. Cocker came to the senate to feather his own nest and did so by supporting Barack Obama. The Iran deal closed all of his reelection options at home so "Little Bob" the deceiver is left to attack the giant and pine away for the god old days when the swamp was a safe place to be.

  • Arc_Fault_One

    Trump was elected by the people because they were tired of the politics as usual. Any politicians against him are the ones that we want out. Goodbye Bob.

  • BurmeseDude

    It's a silently or vociferously complicit group of lawmakers we have these day, going along with or contently accepting a pathological liar we have in the WH, namely Trump.

    Lawmakers with courage are hard to come by.

  • THEFred

    Senator Bob Kickback should talk! He's always fallen meekly into line whenever the chips are down. The bear has had its way with him far too many times.

  • concernedvoter

    Trumps no bear, more like a Pink Fat HOG.. so poke the Hog would've been more appropriate.. LOL

  • Sonora Nomad

    Holy sweet Jeebus, Jethro, looks like Republicans are now afraid to even try to govern.

  • DuelingDogmas

    "Bring me Corker and Flake. They will all suffer for this outrage!!" - Jabba the Trump

  • FfloydZzepp

    Republican politicians forget that the TRINOs are less than half of ONLY the Republican voter base.

  • lavendula38

    You have it right, Corker. Now round up your republican cronies and taze the bear.

  • Star Patriot™

    With all due respect Senator Corker, you chose the wrong side of history. President Trump is working to make America great again while you're throwing temper tantrums on your way out the door. Sad.

  • FfloydZzepp

    Republicans have simply become self preservationists. They don't care about the Nation.

  • Millard Farquar

    They first need to declaw the bear. The president simply has too much discretion and excessive powers.

  • Truthful Opinion

    Corker you are right about your fellow republicans. The issue I have with you is you changed your no vote on Trump's tax cut bill to a yes vote. So that means that you also didn't want to poke the bear.

  • Erwin Schrodinger

    It is truly a disgusting display of cowardice. So much for equal and independent branches of government. This plus the attacks on the judicial branch (who at least have not caved like Congress) show the Constitution under attack by this president.

  • Prophet With Honor

    Someone needs to explain that most bears are willing to retreat if properly facéd down.

  • Colinalcarz

    “Poking the bear” was a Cold War expression that referred to provoking the Soviet Union. Coincidence?

  • Prophet With Honor

    Corker has this one right on both issues.

  • W Lee

    Yea didn't both Trump and Ghouliani speak about shooting someone and getting away with it? Since Trump is still in office they probably just didnt want to P.O. THE DON.

  • snakeice64

    What a Republican taking a stand against Trump and looking out for America??!!!