Talk­ing points

White House is a ‘day-care cen­ter’

The Week (US) - - News 17 -

Repub­li­can Sen. Bob Corker “has done the coun­try the im­mense fa­vor of ac­knowl­edg­ing the ob­vi­ous,” said Michelle Gold­berg in The New York Times. Namely, that Pres­i­dent Trump “can­not be trusted with the power he holds.” The in­flu­en­tial Ten­nessee sen­a­tor, who chairs the For­eign Re­la­tions Com­mit­tee, said that Trump’s top aides are fight­ing to save “our coun­try from chaos,” and de­scribed the White House as “an adult day-care cen­ter” where aides babysit a pres­i­dent prone to tod­dler-like tantrums. After Trump tweeted out a bar­rage of coun­ter­at­tacks on Corker, the sen­a­tor ac­cused Trump of treat­ing the pres­i­dency like “a re­al­ity show” and set­ting the na­tion “on the path to World War III.” Corker said most Repub­li­can sen­a­tors feel the same way. Now, when will the rest speak up?

“If Trump is such a tod­dler, why did Corker en­able his rise in the first place?” asked Pas­calEm­manuel Go­bry in TheWeek.com. Corker did more than most to help Trump win the back­ing of the GOP es­tab­lish­ment, cam­paign­ing with him and urg­ing the party to unite be­hind its nom­i­nee de­spite se­ri­ous con­cerns about his psy­cho­log­i­cal fit­ness to lead. But now that Corker has de­cided not to run for re-elec­tion, he has ap­par­ently re­dis­cov­ered his prin­ci­ples. “The bar­gain Repub­li­cans made when they de­cided to sup­port Trump was that his per­son­al­ity could be, if not quar­an­tined, then at least com­part­men­tal­ized,” said Paul Wald­man in The Amer­i­can Prospect. In­stead, “one ma­jor is­sue after an­other winds up be­ing shaped by Trump’s per­sonal whims and re­sent­ments.” By feud­ing with Corker, Trump prob­a­bly just lost one more crit­i­cal vote for the GOP’s tax plan. With a 52-48 ma­jor­ity in the Se­nate, Repub­li­cans need every vote they can get.

Pub­licly, the White House is push­ing back against Corker, said Josh Dawsey in Politico.com. But many aides ad­mit that be­hind the scenes, they spend a lot of their time “man­ag­ing the pres­i­dent, just as Corker said.” The aides say they strug­gle to con­tain the pres­i­dent’s vol­canic anger, promis­ing to carry out im­pul­sive or­ders “next week” or just chang­ing the sub­ject. Trump, mean­while, is “al­ready chaf­ing” at the con­trols in­sti­tuted by Chief of Staff John Kelly, and some­times pur­posely sends out tweets that he knows will make Kelly and other aides cringe. “They’re not pres­i­den­tial, I know,” Trump tells them, grin­ning tri­umphantly. The next day, he tweets some more.

Corker: Free to speak his mind

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