AP fact check: Trump and Corker going at it again
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump and Republican Sen. Bob Corker are lobbing insults at each other again. The slings and arrows are largely a matter of opinion — is Trump “debasing” the nation as Corker says? Is the senator “incompetent” and a “lightweight,” as the president tweeted?
But aside from those negative reviews of each other, Trump, in particular, got a couple of facts wrong.
Trump tweets Tuesday: “Bob Corker, who helped President O give us the bad Iran Deal & couldn’t get elected dog catcher in Tennessee, is now fighting Tax Cuts ...” And: “Corker dropped out of the race in Tennesse when I refused to endorse him and now is only negative on anything Trump. Look at his record!”
The facts: Trump, who spelled Tennessee right the first time, continues to label Corker an enabler of the Iran nuclear deal when he was a leading critic of it.
Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, had nothing to do with the 2015 international agreement forged by the U.S. and other world powers to constrain Iran’s ability to build a nuclear arsenal. He argued at the time that President Barack Obama should have made the international pact a treaty subject to approval by the Senate. When Obama didn’t do that, Corker helped fellow senators write legislation that subjected the accord to periodic congressional review. The legislation would have blocked the deal if that effort got enough votes. It didn’t. Obama brought the deal into effect, not Congress.
Trump contended, also in a tweet, that Corker decided not to seek another term next year because he “couldn’t get re-elected.” That, of course, is his opinion. But the president has not substantiated his claim that Corker made that decision because he failed to secure his endorsement.
In fact, Trump urged Corker to run during a private meeting in September, AP learned. And Corker’s chief of staff, Todd Womack, said Trump called Corker after that to ask that he reconsider his decision to leave the Senate. Trump “reaffirmed that he would have endorsed him, as he has said many times,” the aide said.
For his part, Corker is having fun steering people on Twitter to #AlertTheDaycareStaff, where Twitter users share thoughts arising from his Oct. 8 Trump slam: “It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.”
Trump’s latest Twitter tirade prompted the senator to tweet Tuesday: “Same untruths from an utterly untruthful president.” And he told CNN he holds Trump responsible for “the debasing of our nation, the constant non-truth-telling, the name-calling.”