Updated on October 10 at 4:30 p.m. ET
If Senator Bob Corker was hoping his blunt criticism of President Trump would inspire his fellow Republicans to join him in publicly confronting the leader of their party, he would be disappointed. And if the president was hoping that a chorus of GOP legislators would rise to his defense, he, too, should be dismayed.
With their shrugs and with their silence, Republican senators responded to the Trump-Corker feud with a resounding plea: Keep us out of it. Few elected Republicans chose to take sides between the president and the powerful chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee who on Sunday likened Trump’s White House to “an adult day care” and warned that his reckless stewardship was leading the U.S. “on the path to World War III.” By and large, they used the Columbus Day holiday and the start of a weeklong Senate recess to avoid the latest and perhaps most flagrant example of Trump’s deteriorating relationship with the Republican establishment.
On Monday and Tuesday, I contacted the offices of every Republican senator asking whether the 51 other lawmakers associated themselves with Corker’s criticism of the president, which the Tennessean said reflected the views of “a vast majority” of his colleagues. Just six responded, and only one, Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming, chose to weigh in on the substance of Corker’s charge—that Trump’s “volatility” as president was undermining U.S. foreign policy and even endangering international peace.