Sen. Corker in Chattanooga
On Thursday, a day after he had declined to make any statements critical of President Trump during a Knoxville stop, U.S. Senator Bob Corker reversed course, facing the issue of presidential problems squarely while speaking with a media group after a luncheon speech to the Chattanooga Rotary Club.
Asked about Trump’s performance as President in general, and in particular about the President's way of responding to last weekend’s clash between white nationalists and counter-protestors in Charlottesville, Virginia, Corker laid it on the line:
“I do think there need to some radical changes. The President has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability or the competence he needs to demonstrate….He has not demonstrated that he understands what has made this nation great….Without the things I just mentioned happening, the nation is going to go through great peril….We should hope…. that he does some self-reflection, does what is necessary to demonstrate some stability, to demonstrate some competence, to demonstrate that he understands the character of our nation.....
The Senator went on: "We’re at the point where there have to be radical changes at the White House itself. It has to happen. I think the President needs to take stock of the role he plays in our nation and move beyond himself."
Corker was asked to elaborate on the President’s fluctuating response to the Charlottesville situation, in which a professed neo-Nazi is accused of murder after driving his car into a crowd, causing one death and numerous injuries.
Trump had first spoken vague words on Sunday disapproving violence “on many sides,” on Monday was coaxed into making prepared remarks denouncing neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan participants in particular, and in ad-libbed remarks on Tuesday reverted to his first position, actually making the claim that the ranks of the alt-right protesters, who chanted against Jews and gave the Nazi salute, contained “many fine people” who were merely trying to defend their heritage by holding on to Confederate memorials slated for removal.
holding on to
Corker said, “We need to speak to what’s good in our nation. Neo-Nazi groups, KKK groups...are not what’s good in our nation. I don’t think that the President has appropriately spoken to the nation on this issue, and sometimes he get in a situation where he doubles down to try to make a wrong a right. I think he’s done that in this case. I would ask that he take stock of who he is as President of all the people in our nation.
Asked to comment on a current campaign to remove a bust of Confederate General Nathan Baedford Forresrt from the state Capitol, Corker said, : We don’t want to do away with history….Let’s put it in a museum, and let’s have the type of people ... At the places where people go to assemble, to make laws, to discuss aspirational maybe what would be better there is to have aspirational figures, and maybe we keep the history in museums.”