Political News

Corker slams GOP colleagues: 'We might poke the bear!'

Posted June 12, 2018 3:53 p.m. EDT

— Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker accused his party of cowering to President Donald Trump in an impassioned speech on the Senate floor Tuesday.

In an animated exchange, Corker -- who was trying to get a vote on an amendment as part of an ongoing debate of the Senate's defense bill -- argued that Republicans were blocking his trade proposal because they were afraid of Trump and what he might do to the party if they upset him in an election year.

"We might poke the bear!" said Corker, who is retiring at the end of his term. "My gosh, if the President gets upset with us we might not be in the majority," he said referring to sentiments he often hears from colleagues.

Corker has worked for the last week to try and get a vote on his amendment that would roll back Trump's trade authority and give Congress the power to check the President's ability to impose tariffs on national security grounds, like the steel and aluminum ones he announced earlier this month on US allies.

Corker has talked with the President about his amendment and Trump had tried to dissuade Corker from pushing for it, to no avail. While Republicans on both sides of the Capitol have voiced sharp concern over the Trump administration's tariffs, Republican leaders voiced concern over Corker's amendment, both due to procedural concerns and broader concerns about undercutting the President's negotiating position. Corker said Tuesday he'd come up with a workaround to the procedural concerns, but it was rejected by leadership.