Corker Is Speaking the Truth About Trump’s Lies. Now It’s Everyone Else’s Turn.
Senator Bob Corker is retiring—and going out firing.
By Jack Holmes October 24, 2017
President Trump Lies. Frequently. This is not new, but somehow it took the nation a great deal of time to come to grips with this reality. Politifact has rated 463 claims made by Donald Trump before and after he rose to the presidency. Sixty-nine percent of them (nice) were rated some degree of false, including 15 percent that were “pants on fire” lies. Imagine if 15 percent of what you said to people was composed of outright, egregious lies. Imagine if nearly 70 percent of what you told your friends and family and coworkers was not true. Now imagine you’re the president.
One way to tell this is no longer a debate is that Republicans are now simply speaking the truth about the president’s aversion to the truth—even if news outlets can be reluctant to do the same. Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee is the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He is also retiring, so he seems to feel a bit more liberated than his colleagues—who will someday seek reelection and may still need the votes of Trump’s relentless base. Corker gave an interview to The New York Times a few weeks back where he didn’t mince words about the threat the president poses in the context of setting off World War III. Now, after the president attacked Corker in a series of tweets this morning, he is not mincing words about Trump’s record on telling the truth:
Corker on Trump: “Nothing that he said in his tweets today were truthful or accurate.”
Corker on Trump: “I think world leaders are very aware that much of what he says is untrue.”
Trump has repeatedly peddled this line about his refusal to grant Corker an endorsement, while Corker has repeatedly said Trump begged him to run for reelection—and offered his endorsement if Corker did so. Who to believe? The guy who’s still going around saying that “we’re the highest taxed nation in the world” while pitching his tax plan, despite the fact that everyone and their brother has found we’re nowhere close? Corker says Trump is “an untruthful president,” which still seems generous. Corker is hiding behind the (debatable) notion he does not use the word “liar,” but at least he’s saying something.
As Corker went on to make clear, this is not just a domestic issue. The word of the President of the United States has been incalculably diminished throughout the world because this president has no regard for the truth, or reality, or the concept of sticking to your word when you give it.
“I don’t know why he lowers himself to such a low, low standard, and debases our country in the way that he does,” Corker said, “But he does.” And then, Corker said he would not support the president in another election, essentially because Trump isn’t up to the job:
Corker says he would NOT support Trump in another election, “he’s proven himself unable to rise to the occasion.”
This is truly remarkable from a sitting senator about the incumbent president from his own party. So, too, was this:
Corker: Trump is “absolutely not” a role model, will be remembered for the “debasement of our nation.”
“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, the name-calling,” Corker said, “The debasement of our nation is what he’ll be remembered most for. And that’s regretful, and it affects young people. We have young people who, for the first time, are watching a president stating absolute non-truths, nonstop. Personalizing things in the way that he does. And it’s very sad for our nation.”
Naturally, the president responded by…lying and personalizing on Twitter:
“Sen. Corker is the incompetent head of the Foreign Relations Committee, & look how poorly the U.S. has done. He doesn’t have a clue as…..
…the entire World WAS laughing and taking advantage of us. People like liddle’ Bob Corker have set the U.S. way back. Now we move forward!”
As Charles P. Pierce has discussed at length, Corker is no saintly defender of the republic against the scourge of Trumpism. He has almost always voted with the administration, and his party backs much of the executive branch agenda when it comes to deregulating the country into oblivion. His first instinct on identifying an existential threat to the nation was to announce his retirement.
But Corker still has the courage to face off, in the most public of squares, against a president who has risen to his current position on the back of sheer viciousness as much as anything else. Corker knows that the president will lie and smear him after this, but he spoke out anyway. That’s commendable, particularly when you watch the Marco Rubio’s of the world cower in the corner as the fabric of our republic is tearing at the seams.