Corker dodges on Trump primary question

Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerBrexit and exit: A transatlantic comparison Sasse’s jabs at Trump spark talk of primary challenger RNC votes to give Trump 'undivided support' ahead of 2020 MORE (R-Tenn.) on Sunday was noncommittal when asked whether President TrumpDonald John TrumpJoint Chiefs chairman denies report that US is planning to keep 1K troops in Syria Kansas Department of Transportation calls Trump 'delusional communist' on Twitter Trump has privately voiced skepticism about driverless cars: report MORE should face a primary challenge in 2020, or whether the country would be better off with a Democratic president than a second term for Trump.

"I do think that we've got to remember what the Republican Party is," Corker told MSNBC's Kasie Hunt when asked whether Trump should face a GOP challenger in the next election.

"I want to get away from here and think about that," he added. "What is happening right now is not the standard Republicanism that we've had in our country for many, many years and it's very different."

ADVERTISEMENT

Corker also said he's not focused at this point on a possible presidential run.

"I think it's important to remind people that we're going through an anomaly right now as it relates to much of the standard Republican focus that's been around for a long time," he added.

The senator, who is retiring after opting not to run for reelection, noted that he supports certain aspects of Trump's presidency, such as the confirmation of conservative judges and the state of the economy.

Asked if the country would be better off with a Democrat winning the 2020 election, Corker did not explicitly rule it out, but expressed uncertainty that the party could elect a centrist. 

"I don’t want to speak to that yet,” he said. “Let’s see what happens a year from now.”

Corker has been one of the most outspoken GOP critics of the president, likening the White House at one point to an "adult day care center" and saying Trump has "debased" the nation.

Trump branded the senator, who is 5 feet, 7 inches tall, as "liddle' Bob Corker" in response.

Some Trump critics in the GOP, including outgoing Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeMcSally to back Trump on emergency declaration Flake: Biden 'strikes fear in a lot of Republicans' Press: Which way do Dems go in 2020? MORE (Ariz.), have said they believe Trump should face a primary challenge in 2020.