As the fallout from President Donald Trump’s Monday press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to spread, some Republican lawmakers appear to have reached their limit on Trump’s coddling of dictators and undermining of American intelligence agencies.
On Tuesday, Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), once a staunch supporter of the president, issued a blistering rebuke of Trump on Twitter that reads as if it were written by the Democrats.
“The dam is finally breaking. Thankfully,” Corker wrote. “As the president taxes Americans with tariffs, he pushes away our allies and further strengthens Putin.”
The dam is finally breaking. Thankfully.
As the president taxes Americans with tariffs, he pushes away our allies and further strengthens Putin.
It is time for Congress to step up and take back our authorities.
We have legislation to do that. Let’s vote.
— Senator Bob Corker (@SenBobCorker) July 17, 2018
Corker’s call for legislation is vague but may be related to tariffs Trump imposed on imported steel and aluminum this spring. Under the Constitution, the power to levy taxes lies with Congress.
In June, Corker introduced a bill to give Congress the authority to approve tariffs enacted by the president “under the auspices of national security,” which Trump used as an excuse to tax imports from American trading allies.
The bill was sponsored by a bi-partisan group of nine Senators from both political parties. Corker’s tweet may indicate a new push to get the Senate to vote on the measure, which would serve as a check on Trump’s risky approaches to trade.
Trump urged Corker and Republicans to “back off,” claiming the legislation would limit his ability to negotiate.
“It’s a difference of opinion,” Corker said. “He [Trump] feels that this takes away his negotiating ability, and this in no way takes away his negotiating ability. It’s not any different from him meeting with Kim Jong Un, and, if they reach a deal, him bringing it to the Congress for approval. I’ve explained it’s exactly the same thing.
“He’s obviously not pleased with this effort,” the Senator added. “We had a heartfelt conversation. Finally, a lot of time had gone by, and I had other meetings.”
Twitter followers chimed in with their thoughts and were mostly in agreement with Corker’s tweet.
Get your fellow republicans on board before it is too late!
— Ed Krassenstein (@EdKrassen) July 17, 2018
About time, Senator. You didn't see this mess coming?
— Henry Ehrlich (@AACMaven) July 17, 2018
Maintain this spine, Senator.
Tweeting isn’t legislating.
— The Hoarse Whisperer (@HoarseWisperer) July 17, 2018
One user, who claims to be a lifelong Republican, has had enough and plans to vote “straight Democrat” in November’s midterms.
@SenBobCorker I have been a Republican my whole life…back when it meant something different. My plan is to vote straight Democrat in November because of the current Republicans in Congress… make me want to change my mind… #TheResistance #ImpeachTrump
— Roseyella (@roseyella2000) July 17, 2018
Others called for Corker to leave the GOP, which he could do consequence-free. Corker is retiring from the Senate at the end of his current term, and with the Senate split 51-49, Corker defecting from Republicans could make all the difference in passing a law that can rein in Trump.
Senator, respectfully, the Majority Leader will never allow that. Have we reached the point when you and Sen Flake, who have nothing to lose, declare independence, hand the gavel to Sen Schumer, and allow hearings? You can still block liberal legislation. Save our republic, sir.
— Andrew Vahrenkamp (@drew_vkamp) July 17, 2018
The Senate is split 51-49. Two defectors from the GOP caucus bring the whole thing to a grinding halt. You're not even running for re-election. Why are you still caucusing with the @SenateGOP?
— New Colossus (@New_Colossus_) July 17, 2018
With McCain sidelined for health, it's really 50-49. Senator Corker COULD be the man people read about in history books of the future, as the one who saved democracy. Or he'll fade into obscurity. His choice.
— Licked by Pumba (@ShadySpotlight) July 17, 2018
Excellent point. The one Republican senator that flips will be written in the history books as the saviour of our nation. Will it be you @SenBobCorker ?
— elise pearlie (@elise_pearlie) July 17, 2018
Some, however, expressed doubts over whether Republicans will take any meaningful action to check Trump’s flagrant abuse of power.
This will last for maybe a few hours. Then back to business as usual.
— Greg Ellner (@GregoryEllner) July 17, 2018
The redirect has already begun by RNC chair, Saying to look at economy etc…
— Jerry Roberts (@Volfan1982) July 17, 2018
Could impeachment be on the table? It’s unlikely, but that isn’t quelling calls for it.
There some articles of impeachment sitting in the House…maybe they could come up for a vote?
— Eric Garland (@ericgarland) July 17, 2018
Corker’s Tuesday tweet is the latest example of his dissent against the president. On Monday, the Tennessee Republican said Trump’s refusal to hold Putin accountable for interfering in the 2016 presidential election made the U.S. look like a “pushover.”
“Everyone who’s dealt with Putin understands fully that the best way to deal with him is through strength, and I just felt like the president’s comments made us look as a nation more like a pushover,” Corker, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters in Washington. “I did not think this was a good moment for our country.”
“I think this was a very good day for President Putin,” he added.