Tuesday on CNN’s “New Day,” network politics reporter and editor-at-large Chris Cillizza commented on Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) attacks on President Donald Trump and as to why other GOP members of the Congress have been reluctant to do so.
According to Cillizza, much of it has to do with Corker’s retirement. Other Republican members of the Senate were “anxious,” given the threats to their seats in the upcoming 2018 Republican primaries from the likes of former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.
Bannon made his intentions known a night earlier on the Fox News Channel’s “Hannity.”
“There’s one critical difference between Bob Corker and all those other names you mentioned – he’s retiring. That is not a coincidence that he is now willing to speak out. You look at polling. Donald Trump is not popular, well under 50 percent. Some polling — under 40 percent. But where is he still popular? The Republican base, the voters who come out and vote in midterm primaries. So, these senators are afraid of him. There is no question. Bob Corker said this in the interview you played with The New York Times’ Jonathan Martin – he said most of his colleagues understand you’re dealing with someone — his word was ‘volatile,’ who needs to be managed.”
“Why haven’t we heard from more of them?” he continued. “Because they are afraid of what the consequences are of speaking out against Donald Trump. The Roy Moores of the world will come out of the woodwork and challenge them. And then you have Steve Bannon further making them anxious because you have Steve Bannon actively recruiting in places like Wyoming. You know, John Barrasso is not anyone’s idea of a moderate senator. He is being recruited against because he’s an establishment guy, member of the leadership. Same thing in Mississippi with Roger Wicker. These are not moderates. These are establishment folks who if you want to be an outsider and insurgent – that’s the way you run against them. So, I think there’s a lot of fear for their own political lives that’s keeping them relatively quiet.”
Real Clear Politics’ A.B. Stoddard was skeptical of the approach taken by Trump and Bannon. She argued it would not move the needle in the “near-term.”
“Well, look, how many times have we now read a story in The Washington Post or The New York Times that says the president is increasing isolated in the nation’s capital, burning alliances and rupturing coalitions and all this stuff and doing it his own way? It’s not really going so well. If we thought president trump was trying to build a sturdy and reliable governing coalition, you know I think we would see the fruits of that by now. Sure, you can come in, burn it down and try to get rid of every establishment person in the House and the Senate and your own party but it’s not really going to bode well for actual governing.”
“So, it’s a 38 percent/62 percent strategy,” she continued. “And if Bannon is successful it will still leave establishment Republicans there warring with the new disruptors. I don’t know – I mean, if he had 12 terms and by the end of it, he said I’m going to have everyone in the House and Senate look like Roy Moore and Steve Bannon, that would be fine. But in the near-term, how is he going to change the healthcare of people paying the highest premiums and deductibles that they’ve ever imagined, struggling through illnesses without enough coverage and waiting for a tax cut? I don’t know that it’s a really good governing strategy in the four years he has to try and win a second term.”
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