Corker interview with CNN’s Blitzer gets testy after questions on Trump, tax bill

Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips Corker GOP senator: Kavanaugh accuser 'moving the goalposts' Grassley willing to send staff to California to speak with Kavanaugh accuser Corker blasts Trump's 'ready, fire, aim' trade policy MORE (R-Tenn.) clashed with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in an interview Tuesday after Blitzer asked Corker a series of questions about his vote on the Republican tax bill.

Corker’s appearance on “The Situation Room” came after he switched his vote on the GOP tax bill from “no” to “yes.” Reports over the weekend noted a provision added to the tax bill would potentially benefit Corker and President TrumpDonald John TrumpLondon terror suspect’s children told authorities he complained about Trump: inquiry The Memo: Tide turns on Kavanaugh Trump to nominate retiring lawmaker as head of trade agency MORE, alongside other owners of income-producing real estate.

Critics hit Corker for changing his vote, accusing him of switching his support based on the addition of the provision that would benefit him.

“I know I am being maligned,” Corker told Blitzer on Tuesday. “It’s just malicious.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Blitzer then played a clip of Corker criticizing Trump in October, in which he said Trump had “proven himself unable to rise to the occasion” of being president, and asked if he still believed those remarks about Trump.

“Look, I know you’re having a great time with this interview, and I’m happy for you in doing so,” Corker fired back after a short exchange. “But, look, Wolf, I’ve said what I’ve said. And I’m doing what I’m doing.”

“I don’t appreciate, you know, the front end of this interview,” Corker continued. “You and I had a conversation about this yesterday on the phone, and you know that all of these things are totally malicious. They’re not true, and you know that, and people in the press that are responsible know that. I’m disappointed that you chose this opportunity to do what you did.”

“I thank you for letting me respond," he said. "I know you had a good time with this interview. Is there anything else that you would like from me to talk with you about?”

Blitzer fired back at the Tennessee Republican, saying he was “not having fun.”

“This is not fun. These are critically important issues. You’re a United States senator, Mr. Chairman, you have enormous responsibility,” Blitzer said.

“These tax cuts are going to go forward. They may be great, they may not be great, but it’s your responsibility as a U.S. senator to answer these kinds of questions, and it’s certainly not something I’m doing because I want to have fun,” the CNN host continued. “I’m doing it because I’m a reporter, I’m a journalist and I’m asking you questions that are legitimate, fair questions, sir.”

CNN commentator David Axelrod tweeted about the interview after it ended, saying he had “rarely seen a legislator look as uncomfortable as Bob Corker just did.”

House Republicans passed the final version of the GOP tax bill on Tuesday, and the Senate is expected to follow suit later Tuesday evening.

But the House will have to revote on the bill Wednesday after the Senate parliamentarian ruled that three provisions in the bill violated Senate rules.