Republican Sen. Bob Corker continued his verbal vendetta with President Trump Friday, saying that he is “exercised” by Trump’s public “castration” of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
In an interview with Washington Post editorial page editor Jackson Diehl, the Tennessee lawmaker said Trump is creating a “binary” situation in which the U.S. would have a choice between war, or a nuclear-armed North Korea or Iran.
“You cannot publicly castrate your own secretary of state without giving yourself that binary choice,” Corker said, according to the Post.
Corker also stressed the importance of working with China to alleviate tension with North Korea, and said Tillerson has been important in forging that relationship, according to the Post. But he went on to say Trump’s undermining of Tillerson — for example, saying that Tillerson was “wasting his time” negotiating with North Korea — could cause China not to apply that pressure on the rogue nation.
“When you jack the legs out from under your chief diplomat, you cause all that to fall apart,” Corker told the Post. “Us working with (Beijing) effectively is the key to not getting to a binary choice. When you publicly castrate your secretary of state, you take that off the table.”
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Earlier this week, Corker spared with Trump in a war of words over Twitter, saying “It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.”
The exchange started when Trump tweeted that Corker sought his endorsement for re-election and nomination for secretary of State, but that he refused. Trump also claimed Corker was “largely responsible for the horrendous Iran Deal.”
But Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, opposed the nuclear dealand spoke out frequently against the international pact, which was negotiated by the administration of President Barack Obama in 2015.
In a conference call with reporters Friday, Corker said he would introduce legislation to fix “major flaws” in the Iran nuclear deal — a step he says will eventually solidify and strengthen the agreement even as President Trump moves to disavow it. Also Friday, Trump announced he would not re-certify the agreement.
Contributing: Deirdre Shesgreen, Michael Collins
Follow Ryan Miller on Twitter @RyanW_Miller