When Donald Trump picked a fight Sunday morning with a powerful Senate Republican, he displayed exactly the lack of impulse control that has rendered him a legislative loser. Just how important is Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker to Trump’s agenda on the Hill? Very, writes the New York Times.
The White House spent Monday morning telling its allies that Mr. Corker is responsible for the fight, not Mr. Trump, and that the senator was an attention-seeking obstructionist. But few of Mr. Trump’s allies accepted that narrative. One close associate of the president, who asked not to be identified to discuss the situation more candidly, said Mr. Trump’s entire agenda could be dead because Mr. Corker has a lot of friends on Capitol Hill. […]
As chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Mr. Corker could single-handedly block the confirmation of a new secretary of state should Mr. Trump push out his embattled chief diplomat, Rex W. Tillerson, and he could bottle up other appointments. He would presumably play a key role in any decision on whether to tear up the Iran nuclear deal. And as a longtime deficit hawk, he could also become a challenge for Mr. Trump as the president seeks to pass deep tax cuts that would add hundreds of billions of dollars to the national debt.
That was the sentiment Senate Leader Mitch McConnell relayed when he was asked about Corker’s comments. “Sen. Corker is a valuable member of the Senate Republican caucus and he’s also on the budget committee and a particularly important player as we move to the floor on the budget next week and he’s an important member of the team,” McConnell said.
It’s cute that McConnell still thinks subtlety can penetrate Trump’s obtuseness, but as McConnell statements go, that’s about as blunt as it gets: 1. Corker is powerful. 2. He holds the keys to the Trump’s budget. 3. Did I mention that Corker’s powerful?
In other words, quit being such a dimwit, Donnie. Corker’s in position to sink your ship if he wants to.
Of course, Corker likely won’t do anything to truly damage the GOP caucus. But he certainly appears willing to scuttle Trump’s priorities if they aren’t in line with what’s good for congressional Republicans.
Trump’s Sunday morning pique demonstrated exactly the type of myopic thinking that has made him so stunningly ineffectual on Capitol Hill.