Bob Corker is discouraged by Donald Trump yet again.
The Tennessee senator, chair of the Senate foreign relations committee, and one-time rumoured running mate for Trump, said Tuesday he was let down by Trump’s immediate reaction to the Orlando terror attack — the deadliest mass shooting in US history.
“It wasn’t the kind of response that I would expect when 50 people have perished,” Corker said, according to an NBC News reporter. “You know, I think I’ve offered words of public encouragement in important times and continue to be discouraged by the results.”
“I continue to be discouraged by the direction of the campaign and the comments that are made,” he continued. “And I did not think yesterday’s speech was the type of speech that one would give who wants to lead this country through difficult times.”
Corker joins what is becoming a growing list of leading Republicans who are not pleased with Trump’s visceral response to the Orlando tragedy.
In the aftermath of the deadly attack, Trump renewed his calls for a ban on Muslim immigration and even went as far as to suggest President Barack Obama might be sympathetic toward jihadists.
A number of Republicans in Congress have either publicly distanced themselves from such comments, particularly the rhetoric on immigration, or gone a step further and rebuked them.
Speaker Paul Ryan said Tuesday at the House GOP leadership briefing that Trump’s Muslim ban proposal was not “reflective of our principles, not just as a party, but as a country.”
“And I think the smarter way to go in all respects is to have a security test, not a religious test.”
“You don’t ban somebody on race [or] religion,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy echoed at the same event. “I don’t see that coming to the floor.”
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham dismissed the plan on Tuesday as well.
The South Carolina Republican, who at one time was competing against Trump in the presidential race, also called his suggestion about Obama’s allegiances “beyond out of line.”
“I’ve never doubted that he loves his country,” Graham told CNN. “I think he has a world view that I don’t agree with, in terms of how to deal with radical Islam. I don’t think he’s sympathetic to their causes, I think he’s just made poor policy choices.”
Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, who’s been increasingly critical of Trump, said he hopes Trump will change some policy positions, but is “not optimistic,” according to an NBC News reporter.
And, late Tuesday afternoon, Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander provided perhaps the strongest Republican detachment from Trump.
“We don’t have a nominee,” Alexander told an Associated Press reporter.
After being told that Trump is the party’s presumptive nominee, the Republican shot back: “That’s what you say.”
Meanwhile, other GOP senators, such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker, and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott — seemingly tired of having to address the presumptive nominee’s constant controversies — simply avoided discussing Trump’s response to the Orlando terror attack.
Democrats have attempted to seize the moment, with Obama delivering his sharpest rebuke of Trump to date in a Tuesday address. “Where does this stop?” the president rhetorically asked.
Obama added: “Are we going to start treating all Muslim Americans differently? Are we going to start subjecting them to special surveillance?”
Trump responded to the criticism from the president, contending that while Obama says he “claims to know our enemy” he “continues to prioritise our enemy over our allies, and for that matter, the American people.”
“[W]hen I am president, it will always be America first.”
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