(Bloomberg) -- Republican Senator Bob Corker said he stands by his comments that Donald Trump hasn’t shown the stability or competency to succeed as president, and that Trump’s criticism of Republican congressional leaders is fueling resentment within the party.
Corker, a former Trump ally who announced on Sept. 26 that he won’t seek re-election in 2018 as a Tennessee Senator, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press’’ on Sunday that Trump has made positive changes in the White House with new chief of staff John Kelly, responded well to hurricanes that hit Texas and Florida, and showed courage in changing his position on increasing troop levels in Afghanistan.
But Corker said he’s not backing off his critique of Trump following the president’s response to a violent white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“The country needs for him to be -- the world needs for him to be -- successful,’’ Corker said, according to a transcript provided by NBC. “I’m seeing changes. But I made the comment. I stand by the comments I made at the time.’’
Corker also said the president “mocking the leadership on both sides of the aisle’’ in Congress fueled Republican resentment that helped Roy Moore defeat U.S. Senator Luther Strange – who was backed by both Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell -- in a primary runoff election on Sept. 26.
“I hope that the election of the type of candidate that was elected there doesn’t say that much about the Republican Party,’’ Corker said of Moore, a former Alabama Supreme Court justice who was removed twice as chief justice for refusing to follow federal court rulings. “I think it’s more about the resentment that people have towards the fact that they don’t see Washington solving problems.”
Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also had a warning about North Korea’s expanding nuclear program, saying the standoff with the U.S. is “moving to a place where we’re going to end up with a binary choice soon.’’
“There’s got to be a diplomatic breakthrough of some kind here,’’ Corker said. “I mean, while all this is happening, they’re getting stronger, and stronger and stronger and developing better and better technology.’’