Corker on media: I have 'newfound empathy' for Trump

Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerCheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP How leaving Afghanistan cancels our post-9/11 use of force The unflappable Liz Cheney: Why Trump Republicans have struggled to crush her  MORE (R-Tenn.) said Thursday he has “newfound empathy” for President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 panel faces double-edged sword with Alex Jones, Roger Stone Trump goes after Woodward, Costa over China Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves MORE after a report he benefited from a provision in the final GOP tax bill went viral.

“I told (Trump) that I’d had a healthy respect for the media and I deal with them all the time, and, you know, to attack the media has not been something I’ve done,” Corker said on Fox News.

“I’ve never ever in my life used the work ‘fake news’ until today. I actually understand what it is the president has been dealing with,” he continued.

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Corker was responding to a story first reported by International Business Times and picked up by other outlets that a provision added to the tax bill during the reconciliation process would directly benefit those with real estate holdings, like Corker.

Corker said he was unaware of the provision, and said it was included in the House version of the bill then included in the final version submitted from a conference committee.

Corker originally voted against the Senate version of the tax bill, citing concerns it would add to the deficit, but ultimately voted for the final version, which passed both chambers of Congress on Wednesday. 

Corker said he spoke with Trump on Wednesday about his “newfound empathy” for the president, who has frequently singled out news outlets for their reporting and labeled them “fake news.”

“He just mentioned that he’d been dealing with this for over a year, and look, I’m sorry I’ve witnessed it firsthand, it is not good,” Corker said. “I know other people have witnessed the same. I have a newfound empathy for what he and others have been dealing with this in this regard.”

Corker and Trump feuded earlier this year, with the president claiming the senator “couldn’t get elected dog catcher in Tennessee.” Corker is not seeking reelection in 2018.

Corker responded by saying Trump will be remembered for “debasing” the nation.