Republican Sen. Bob Corker has broken with his party to become an outspoken critic of President Trump — and some Washington observers think he may be making a case for a Trump impeachment.
In recent months, Corker had said that Trump lacked the "competence and stability" to be president and could lead the country "down the path to World War III." On Tuesday, he added that the president "has great difficulty with the truth on many issues," "debases our country" and was "absolutely not" a role model for children. He added that he "would not do that again" in terms of supporting Trump's election and that his conduct was "very sad for our country."
Today, after the president tweeted that Corker — who is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — was a "lightweight," Corker told CNN, "He is purposely breaking down relationships we have around the world that had been useful to our nation. I think the debasement of our nation is what he'll be remembered most for."
Aaron Blake of the Washington Post believes Corker could be laying the groundwork for impeachment, pointing out that Corker has said he chooses his statements about Trump carefully. "The senator is describing Trump as an imminent threat to American government and American lives," writes Blake. "He's suggesting Trump is damaging American society. He says Trump isn't only failing, but that he's 'unable to rise to the occasion.' He suggests Trump was ready to do crazy things before Corker intervened and put a stop to it. He's basically arguing that Trump is derelict in his duties as president, or unfit for the office.”
"If you truly believe all of that, wouldn't you also believe that Trump should be removed from office?" he concluded.
With Republican Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake (who Tuesday announced he would not seek re-election, saying he would rather retire than fall in line with the party's rightward tack under Trump), Corker has formed an unprecedented intraparty trifecta against Trump. In his announcement on the Senate floor today, Flake said he felt "a matter of duty and conscience" to speak out against the president.
"We must never regard as 'normal' the regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals," he said, criticizing the "flagrant disregard for truth or decency, the reckless provocations, most often for the pettiest and most personal reasons."
"I have children and grandchildren to answer to, and so, Mr. President, I will not be complicit," he added.
On Oct. 10, Michelle Goldberg of the New York Times spoke about Corker's comments to that point with Jerry Taylor of the libertarian think tank Niskanen Center. Taylor said he was in frequent contact with anti-Trump Republicans and sensed a "growing sense of urgency" among them.
“Having an unstable narcissist who is ignorant of politics, policy and foreign affairs with the nuclear codes has probably turned them white as a sheet,” he said. “There is some degree of serious responsibility that they fully realize that they hold.”