LATEST: Corker has now said Trump’s behaviour could spark ‘World War III’ (see below).
Donald Trump’s stinging yet petulant criticism of an ally has been returned in kind in a Twitter exchange that is both amusing yet ultimately, depressingly embarrassing for the “greatest country in the history of the world” .
On Sunday afternoon the President aimed his bombastic social media account at Senator Bob Corker with a series of derisive posts blaming the Republican for the Iran nuclear deal and saying he wanted the secretary of state job.
The senator from Tennessee had been considered by Trump for the secretary of state position in the months after Trump’s election win, reports Reuters.
Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been more critical of Trump in recent months, including over the handling of a white supremacist demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August.
Corker, whose retirement is a blow to the Republican Party struggling to balance divisions between mainstream and more populist wings, said in his tweet on Sunday:
Which went down well..
LATEST: Corker ratcheted up the rhetoric on Sunday evening in an interview with The New York Times, saying the “vast majority” of congressional Republicans were concerned with the president’s volatile behaviour and that rhetoric from the White House could set America “on the path to World War III”.
He added: ”“I know he has hurt, in several instances, he’s hurt us as it relates to negotiations that were underway by tweeting things out,” Corker said, adding that “everyone knows” the “President tweets out things that are not true”.”
Trump has long criticised the 2015 international nuclear pact, a signature foreign policy achievement of former President Barack Obama in which Iran agreed to reduce its nuclear program in exchange for easing of sanctions.
Last week, asked about reported tensions between Trump and the person he eventually chose to be secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, Corker’s response was seen as a jab at Trump.
“I think Secretary Tillerson, Secretary [of Defense James] Mattis, and Chief of Staff [John] Kelly are those people that help separate our country from chaos,” Corker said, referring to Defense Secretary James Mattis and White House chief of staff John Kelly.
Corker also said Tillerson was “in an incredibly frustrating place” where he “ends up not being supported in the way that I hope a secretary of state would be supported,” according to media reports.
Sunday was not the first time Trump has tweeted about Corker and his apparent waffling about whether or not he should seek another Senate term.
In August, Trump said Corker was “constantly asking me whether or not he should run again in ’18.”
That was after the senator’s remarks on Trump’s response to the Charlottesville demonstration.
Corker said, “The President has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability, nor some of the competence, that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful.”