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

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

Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerOvernight Defense: Senate bucks Trump with Yemen war vote, resolution calling crown prince 'responsible' for Khashoggi killing | House briefing on Saudi Arabia fails to move needle | Inhofe casts doubt on Space Force Senate passes resolution naming crown prince 'responsible' for Khashoggi slaying Senate votes to end US support for Saudi war, bucking Trump MORE (R-Tenn.) in an interview published Monday said he believes President TrumpDonald John TrumpProsecutors investigating Trump inaugural fund, pro-Trump super PAC for possible illegal foreign donations: NY Times George Conway: Why take Trump's word over prosecutors' if he 'lies about virtually everything' Federal judge says lawsuit over Trump travel ban waivers will proceed 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 BlackburnOvernight Health Care — Sponsored by Amgen — ObamaCare signups lag behind last year despite recent surge | Drug company offers cheaper opioid overdose treatment after hiking price 600 percent | CDC calls fentanyl deadliest drug in US GOP struggles to win votes for Trump’s B wall demand Incoming GOP congressman says vaccines may cause autism, contradicting CDC 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."