The public feud between Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and President Donald Trump continued to escalate on Tuesday.
“He’s obviously not going to rise to the occasion as president,” Corker said. “I think at the end of the day, when his term is over, I think the debasing of our nation, the constant non-truth-telling, just the name-calling ― I think the debasement of our nation will be what he’ll be remembered most for. And that’s regretful.”
Corker supported Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign, but has since become one of the president’s most outspoken critics among Senate Republicans. He has condemned Trump over his rhetoric toward North Korea as well his response to the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August.
Corker told CNN that Trump is “absolutely not” a role model to U.S. children, and when asked if he would support him in another election, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman said “no way.”
“Let’s just put it this way: I would not do that again,” Corker said of supporting Trump. “I think many of us ― me included ― have tried to intervene ... to try to create some kind of aspirational approach, if you will, to the way that he conducts himself. But I don’t think that’s possible.”
Hours earlier, Corker doubled down on his concern over the president’s inability to lead during an appearance on NBC’s “Today” show.
“I think that there are people around him that work in an effort to contain him,” Corker said when asked if Trump was a “threat” to national security. “That would be [Secretary of Defense James Mattis] and [Secretary of State Rex Tillerson] and Gen. [John] Kelly there as chief of staff.”
“When you kneecap your secretary of state, whose diplomacy you have to depend upon ... you really move our country into a binary choice, which could lead to a world war,” he continued. “So, yes, I want him to support diplomatic efforts ― not embarrass and really malign efforts that are underway.”
Trump is scheduled to have lunch Tuesday with the Senate GOP to discuss tax reform. But Corker dismissed the meeting as a “photo op.”
“I think it’s fine for him to come over,” he said. “I do look at these things as more of a photo op. They’re not really about substance, but, you know, more power to him.”
Minutes earlier during an appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Corker defended another statement earlier this month that likened the White House to an “adult day care center.”
“I don’t make comments I haven’t thought about,” Corker said. “I would just like [Trump] to leave it to the professionals for a while and see if we can do something that’s constructive for our country, the region and the world.”
Trump lashed out at Corker in a series of tweets just hours after the Republican lawmaker’s TV appearances Tuesday.
“Corker dropped out of the race in Tennessee when I refused to endorse him,” Trump tweeted, “and now is only negative on anything Trump.”
Corker quickly fired back by tweeting that Trump is an “utterly untruthful president.”
This article has been updated with more quotes from Corker.