Everyone in America is talking about the Trump-Corker-World-War-III feud. Except for those talking about the latest Trump-NFL-Jemele-Hill flare-up. And, yeah, those talking about the Trump-Tillerson-IQ-test throwdown. (Spoiler alert: If you’re the president and you challenge your Secretary of State to an IQ test, you are, by definition, a moron.) And, sure, the latest on Harvey Weinstein’s repulsive Hollywood role as male predator, which Trump has said did not surprise him at all.
It’s not that there aren’t other things to discuss, like why the NRA isn’t calling for a ban of bump stocks after all. And why Trump has set up a string of barriers — including yet one more futile attempt to impose his freaking wall— to any agreement on protection for Dreamers. And why the only daycare anyone seems to be focusing on is the adult daycare in the White House.
Or maybe we can talk about the stripping of the Obama-era EPA rules. Or the moves toward decertifying the Iran nuke deal. Or the “one thing” that can stop North Korea. Or the catastrophic wildfires in Northern California, which, as of this writing, Trump hadn’t mentioned. Or why Trump is angry that he’s not getting enough credit (blame?) for the conditions in Puerto Rico. Or why he tried to take all the credit (blame?) for Mike Pence’s phony NFL walk-out stunt.
But if you’re starting to feel like the long-anticipated national crack-up has finally arrived — and, I know, it does feel that way — don’t fool yourself. It’s just another day in Trumpworld, in which Trump belittles while America burns.
There are websites that will give you by-the-second countdown until Trump’s four years are up. And if that doesn’t sufficiently discourage you, there are pundits who will tell you that Trump, despite his disastrous poll ratings, is well positioned to be re-elected.
Meanwhile, there’s the Trump-Corker feud to consume us. It began with Corker, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, saying the few adults in the White House were all that stood between the nation and “chaos.” Corker, who recently announced he would not seek re-election in 2018, found himself suddenly unburdened by any political imperative and did that rarest of things —he told the truth.
If there’s anything Trump dislikes more than a weekend at Camp David, it’s telling the truth. So he tweeted out a lie about Corker, saying the two-term conservative Tennessee senator had begged for Trump’s endorsement and that he didn’t run for reelection because he didn’t have the guts. It was such an obvious lie that no one took it seriously, except maybe Corker. He took it seriously enough to give an interview to The New York Times in which he made the world nervous with his take on Trump and the dangers of world war. And he made his Republican colleagues even more nervous by revealing that nearly all of them agreed with his assessment that Trump was a danger.
This was the essential truth — that Republican senators (see: Gardner, Cory) know how reckless and uninformed Trump is and yet they do nothing about it. Of course, there’s plenty that Corker himself could do, given his role as chair of the Foreign Relations Committee and given his past as a deficit hawk. We’ll see if actions match his words.
But what we do know is how Daycare Donald responded to these incredible charges from the normally low-key, but very influential, senator. Yes, he tweeted about Corker’s height.
He’s Liddle Bob Corker now, not to be confused with Li’l Marco Rubio, who once also told the truth about Trump, but that was long ago. And when Trump wasn’t hitting Corker for his 5-foot-7 frame, Trump was saying he was smarter than Rex Tillerson and wanted to go all Stanford-Binet on him. Now, tell me, who was the last president to have issued an IQ challenge?
It’s no wonder that Michael Bennet was moved recently to say he felt sorry for his Republican colleagues who wake up every day in fear of what Trump has done now and how they can possibly defend it. I’m sure Bennet was basically talking about Gardner, who is in an even tougher position than most Republicans as the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, meaning he is charged with getting, say, the homophobic, Islamaphobic Roy Moore elected senator in Alabama.
I’m not going to waste any tears on Gardner, who, we know, will dodge any question on whether he agrees with Corker’s assessment. Those few senators who have been caught and forced to say something have basically said that they have more important things to do than comment on a feud, but actually they don’t. Corker’s warning tells us as much about the cowardly GOP-led Senate as it does about the dangers of Trump’s impulsiveness.
This is on the Trump enablers who try to pretend that Trump’s presidency isn’t a disaster. And Corker, who supported Trump during the 2016 campaign, knows he has been one of them.
As Corker told The Times: “The vast majority of our caucus understands what we’re dealing with here. There will be some — if you write that, I’m sure there will be some that say, ‘No, no, no I don’t believe that,’ but of course they understand the volatility that we are dealing with and the tremendous amount of work that it takes from people around him to keep him in the middle of the road.”
It’s pretty clear that Trump’s undercutting of Rex Tillerson on North Korea is what moved Corker to speak out. It’s also pretty clear we should take the warning seriously. After all, if you’re a serious person, you don’t just toss out World War III warnings. We’re just left to hope that Corker is not a liddle too late.