Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee offered up a stinging rebuke of President Trump this afternoon by questioning Trump’s stability and competence as a leader in the wake of a deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“The president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate that he needs to be successful,” Corker said Thursday to group of reporters after an event in his home state.
Corker called for “radical changes” from the White House, delivering a pointed critique of Trump for his lack of discipline in handling a national crisis.
Corker, a conservative, excoriated Trump for his failure to appropriately speak to a nation still reeling from the racially charged incident over the weekend. Corker said Trump helped to fuel divisions in an attempt to generate support from his political base.
“Helping inspire divisions because it generates support from your political base is not a formula for causing our nation to advance and overcome the many issues that we have to deal with right now,” Corker said.
“He also recently has not demonstrated that he understands the character of this nation,” he went on. “He has not demonstrated that he understands what has made this nation great and what it is today.”
These are exceptionally strong statements from a U.S. senator against a member of his own party, and by far one of the most damning critiques of the president by a conservative GOP senator during Trump’s presidency.
“He’s got to demonstrate the characteristics of a president who understands that, without the things that I just mentioned happening, our nation is going to go through great peril,” he said.
When asked by reporters if he thinks Trump has done enough to denounce Nazis and white nationalists, Corker said Trump didn’t say what he should have.
“I don’t think that the president has appropriately spoken to the nation on this issue. And I think that sometimes he gets in a situation when he doubles down when he tries to … make a wrong a right. I think he’s done that in this case. I would ask that he take stock of who he is as president of all the people in the nation,” Corker said.
“Those of us who have positions of responsibility we have to understand that at the end of the day, in spite of whether people misunderstand or understand differently, our role is to make our nation great and to overcome these issues and it takes far more discipline sometimes, way more discipline, a lot of strength, inner strength to be measured and to try to solve problems,” he said.
“I will say we’re at a point where there needs to be radical changes take place at the White House itself, it has to happen,” Corker warned. “The president needs to take stock of the role that he plays in our nation and move beyond himself, move way beyond himself and move to a place where daily he’s waking up thinking what is best for this nation.”