Senator Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) — who is not running for re-election this year — compared his party to a “cult” in reference to its unflagging support of President Trump.
While talking to a gaggle of reporters in the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Sen. Corker (who has voted in line with Trump’s policy agenda 84 percent of the time) candidly said the GOP’s fear of doing anything that may anger Trump was “cult-like,” in reference to Republican opposition to a bill he was attempting to pass in which new trade tariffs must first be approved by Congress.
“It’s almost becoming a cultish thing, isn’t it,” Sen. Corker said. “And it’s not a good place for any party to end up with a cult-like situation as it relates to a president that happens to be, purportedly, of the same party.”
“No, no, no, we might poke the bear’ is the language I’ve been hearing in the hallways: ‘We might poke the bear. The president of the United States might get upset with us,’ ” Corker added.
Sen. Corker has a point — Trump’s death grip on the Republican Party seems to have only strengthened despite numerous scandals and the ongoing investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. On Tuesday night, Rep. Mark Sanford (R-South Carolina) — who has criticized Trump in the past — lost the Republican primary, and credited a tweet President Trump sent earlier this week as the primary reason for his loss.
Mark Sanford has been very unhelpful to me in my campaign to MAGA. He is MIA and nothing but trouble. He is better off in Argentina. I fully endorse Katie Arrington for Congress in SC, a state I love. She is tough on crime and will continue our fight to lower taxes. VOTE Katie!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 12, 2018
“[Republicans] don’t want the tweet that I got last night,” Rep. Sanford said, adding that he was concerned Trump was turning the GOP into a “cult of personality.”
Sen. Corker’s tariff bill only has eight Republican cosponsors, none of whom are trying to get re-elected this year. When asked about Corker’s “cult” remarks, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) said he was “not going to dignify that with a response.”
Jake Shepherd is a freelance writer from Cleveland, Ohio. He enjoys poring through financial disclosure statements, spirited debate, and good scotch. He remains eternally optimistic about the Browns. Email him at jake.d.shepherd.21 (at) hotmail (dot) com.