Key GOP senator: Trump needs ‘radical changes’

Keren Carrion

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) is urging President Trump to change course following his reaction to the violence at a white nationalist rally in Virginia, saying he hasn’t shown that he understands what “made this nation great.”

“I do think there need to be some radical changes. The president has not yet … been able to demonstrate the stability, nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful, and we need for him to be successful,” Corker told reporters in Tennessee on Thursday.

He added that “without the things that I just mentioned happening our nation is going to go through great peril, so I want to do everything I can [to help].”


Corker’s comments come after Trump blamed both the “alt-left” and white supremacists groups for the violence in Charlottesville that occurred over the weekend, saying there were “very fine people” in both sides. 

Trump also weighed in Thursday on the push to remove Confederate statues that has gained momentum since the white supremacist rally, saying it’s “sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart.”

Appearing to refer to Trump’s comments on Charlottesville, Corker added that the president “recently has not demonstrated that he understands the character of this nation.”

“He has not demonstrated that he understands what has made this nation great,” the GOP senator said.

Corker was under consideration to be Trump’s secretary of State and got speculation as a potential vice presidential pick. As chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, he’s in frequent contact with both the president and the State Department, but he’s previously offered sharp criticism of the White House’s string of scandals.

He sidestepped blaming a specific faction in the White House for the political turmoil. Pressed on chief adviser Stephen Bannon, he noted that he doesn’t “get into personalities.”

Instead, he urged Trump to do “some self-reflection” so he can demonstrate “stability” and “competence” needed to show that he understands the country.

“I will say that we’re at a point where there needs to be radical changes that take place at the White House itself. It has to happen. I think the president needs to take stock of the role he plays in our nation and move beyond himself, move way beyond himself,” Corker said.

GOP senators have pushed back against Trump for his comments on the Charlottesville violence, arguing he hasn’t taken a hard enough stance against the Ku Klux Klan or white nationalist groups.

Corker floated on Thursday that Trump had “doubled down … to try to make a wrong a right.” 

“I don’t believe that the president has appropriately spoken to the nation on this issue. … And I would ask that he take stock of who he is as president of all the people in our nation and that he condemn those things that are separating us,” Corker said. 

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