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GOP senator says Republicans in 'cult-like situation ' with Trump

13 June 2018

Corker was infuriated over objection to his tariff legislation, which would seek to limit Trump's authority to issue national security tariffs.

Corker has been angling to get his legislation added as an amendment to the defense appropriation bill, a must-pass measure that the Senate is now debating.

Corker and other lawmakers - Democrats as well as some of Trump's fellow Republicans - introduced the measure last week after the president's recent announcement that he was considering tariffs on automobiles, after imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum, citing national security concerns.

"I can't believe it!"

The leadership move, which blocked Corker from including his legislation as an amendment on a pending defense bill, probably killed it for good - and with it, Congress's best chance of taking any action to confront Trump on trade.

Corker's criticism of Republican leaders comes amid his push to get a vote on his amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would check the President's ability to impose tariffs.

"We as senators, we're anxious somehow that this guy, gosh almighty, I heard the senior senator from Texas [John Cornyn] saying the other day, 'Well, gosh, we might upset the president".

Corker added on Wednesday that leadership is "wary" of upsetting the president and "there's a definite fear there". I would bet that 95 percent of the people on this side of the aisle support intellectually this amendment. "I think this would cause a lot of damage".

Corker also criticized Republicans because he said he would bet more than "95 percent" of Republicans agree with him ideologically.

"He continued: "'We might poke the bear!' is the language I've been hearing in the hallways.

"I was asked to find a solution to this "blue slip" issue, and I found one that's used as customarily as waking up in the morning and drinking a cup of coffee. I mean we're going to be here during recess, generally speaking, which is fine with me but, look, it's more about Trump being upset than it is about anything else", Corker said. Changing the shell of a bill is routinely done as part of the legislative process, including on the fiscal year 2017 NDAA. But even as he called for the Republicans to simply give his amendment an up-or-down vote, he acknowledged that there's no way it will actually happen. If his unanimous consent agreement had been adopted, nothing else related to the NDAA or where the Senate now is in the process would have changed. But the senator leading the defense debate, James Inhofe of Oklahoma, said Tuesday he wouldn't go along because it risked holding up Pentagon funding and wasn't directly related.

GOP senator says Republicans in 'cult-like situation ' with Trump