According to CNN, sources have confirmed that in recent days, Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee may be changing his mind about retiring. He gained notoriety in 2016 for his forceful words questioning Trump’s competency and calling the White House “an adult day care center.” He was quickly categorized in a certain group of Republicans – ones willing to defy the president.
Some examples of this include Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, and John McCain, all of whom voted against the Republican Obamacare “partial” and “skinny” repeals. Corker voted ‘no’ on repeal and replace, but voted for both successive repeals proposals. Jeff Flake, another Republican who has criticized the president, voted ‘yes’ on all three measures.
Flake and Corker seem to fit with a pattern of Republican senators who only feel emboldened enough to speak out against the president if they don’t need him (read: if they do not seek reelection.) Otherwise, Republican senators seem to stay mum about his behavior.
Corker’s reconsideration of retirement may only be beltway chatter, but according to CNN’s sources, it has come up at least once in front of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and if true, puts him in a tough position. When Corker announced retirement, McConnell threw the weight of the Republican establishment behind Rep. Marsha Blackburn, and that may be hard to undo if Corker changes his mind.
Both Corker and Flake have received similar criticism from those on the left who say that the senators oppose the president with words, but not with action. To those people, this is doubly egregious because they are the very people with the authority to check an out-of-control president.
If Jeff Flake and just one more GOP Senator — McCain, Corker, Hatch, not running again; or “thoughtful” Sasse, Alexander, etc; or “independent” Collins, Murkowski, Paul, etc — actually *voted* against Trump, they could make an enormous difference.https://t.co/Oew8yDU15t https://t.co/8XnTEbhmKQ
— James Fallows (@JamesFallows) February 6, 2018
The last piece of the puzzle is that many analysts anticipate a “blue wave” for the 2018 midterm elections or an insurgency of Democratic representatives. The high number of Republican resignations might signal that they believe that it’s true, as well, and may not bode well for Corker or any other Republican senators hoping to keep their seats.
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