U.S. Sen. Bob Corker left Washington, D.C., earlier this month in the middle of a government shutdown and, once again, he criticized President Donald Trump.
In a phone interview with WPLN’s Sergio Martínez-Beltrán, Corker blamed Trump for the shutdown.
He also talked about the direction of the Republican Party and whether he’ll take on President Trump in 2020.
The following are excerpts from that interview:
This is not the first government shutdown you are part of. What's the biggest difference you see in Congress now with this shutdown than when you started 12 years ago?
This is one where Congress was actually willing to move ahead and solve the issue.
This is one where at the last minute the president changed his mind and so now we are sitting here shut down because — just because. This whole thing, as I've mentioned before, is pretty juvenile, and at some point government will open back up.
People say, 'Corker is going on Twitter, he's pushing back on President Trump, he's fighting back. But what is he actually doing to push back on some of his policies and decisions?' What would you tell those people?
I passed the CAATSA bill [Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which imposes sanctions on Russia]. ... The president was very unhappy with me in leading that effort.
I strongly pushed back on the tariff issue and tried to take back power on the senate floor.
I pushed back strongly on his statements relative to the Saudi Crown Prince, who I know was responsible for the death of the journalist [Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi], and passed overwhelmingly on the floor — a resolution by the U.S. Senate stating that we hold the Crown Prince accountable.
We've done a lot and I think that some people — short of some type of 'You take the president out somehow' — think that there's no pushing back that takes place. But there is. Name someone else who ... has been more outspoken than myself when things I felt have been incorrect. And, by the way, praising things when I think are correct.
You've said you are considering your next step and that part of that consideration is running for president, which will likely mean challenging Trump. What would stop you from being a Republican contender in 2020?
Well, there are a lot of things. First of all, you gotta really want to be president.
It's something to consider and certainly I've got the background and knowledge levels, and hopefully intelligence and judgement and all of those kind of things to be good at it, if I was elected. But, again, it's not necessarily even on the front burner; it's a possibility. There are many other things that I'm going to be thinking about over the next period of time.