Corker: Trump governs by using ‘anger’ and ‘hate’

Corker: Trump governs by using ‘anger’ and ‘hate’
© Anna Moneymaker

Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerPollster says Trump unlikely to face 'significant' primary challenge GOP gets used to saying 'no' to Trump Democrats introduce bill to rein in Trump on tariffs MORE (R-Tenn.) in an interview published Monday said he believes President TrumpDonald John TrumpGrassroots America shows the people support Donald Trump Trump speaks to rebel Libyan general attacking Tripoli Dem lawmaker: Mueller report shows 'substantial body of evidence' on obstruction MORE "tries to divide" the country and governs using "anger" and "hate."

"He is able to keep his base together by his approach and, instead of appealing to our better angels and trying to unite us like most people would try to do, the president tries to divide us," Corker told the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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Corker, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman who is retiring from Congress, expressed concern that Trump's conduct will "squander the well-earned good will that we have around the world at a time when our leadership is more important than ever."

Corker has been a staunch critic of Trump and has seen his favorability ratings hit hard in his red home state. A June poll showed 62 percent of primary voters with an unfavorable view of the senator, according to the Times Free Press.

Corker announced earlier this year that he would not run for reelection after this term. He will be replaced by Sen.-elect Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnConservative groups defend tech from GOP crackdown Lawmakers weigh challenges in fighting robocalls Senators show deep skepticism on Space Force proposal MORE (R-Tenn.), who currently represents Tennessee's 7th District in the House.

Trump previously considered the Tennessee Republican as a running mate in the presidential election and later for the position of secretary of State. Neither panned out, and Corker become one of Trump's most vocal GOP critics. 

Corker told the newspaper that, after speaking with Trump frequently for more than a year, he believes his divisive remarks "are not an act." 

"That's just who he is and not the way that I would choose to act," Corker said. "He is just very combative."

"It has been an effective formula and he did get elected and, from a Republican standpoint, he has been effective in getting a lot of things done," Corker said. "But I'm not sure people will appreciate that approach for an eight-year term."

"This could just be a four-year aberration," Corker added.

Corker during the interview left the door open to possibly running for another political office or even the presidency.

"We haven't eliminated that, but it's not something I want to focus on until I get out [of Congress]," Corker said. "We have three more weeks of legislative activity and I want to finish the work that we're doing free of any kind of political considerations."