In ‘warm conversation,’ Corker tells Trump of ‘newfound empathy’

Press release from Sen. Bob Corker (with headline saying, ‘Corker Pushes Back on False Reports About Why He Supported Tax Reform’)

WASHINGTON – In an interview with host Brian Kilmeade on “Fox & Friends” today, U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) pushed back against false reports about why he supported tax reform. Corker is not a member of the tax-writing committee and had no involvement in crafting the legislation. He requested no specific tax provisions throughout the months-long debate and had no knowledge of the pass-through provision in question. Corker said he supported the legislation because our country will be better off with it than without it.

“Has Senator Corker been a victim of the fake news trend just like President Trump that many people thought was just a slogan? Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the [Senate Foreign Relations Committee], and I’d have to say one of the most respected on both sides of the aisle in the Senate chamber. Senator, what is the ‘Corker kickback’?” asked Kilmeade.

“Look, this is a travesty that something like this would be put forth,” said Corker. “The fact is this was a provision that came from the House of Representatives. Brian, I’ve had zero impact on a word of the tax policy. I’ve focused on deficits. The reporter that wrote about this knew I was unaware of the provision. I sat down with [Senate] leadership on Thursday and walked through the differences between the House and Senate bill… and this was not a provision that was even brought up. The reporter calls. He knows I’m unaware of [the provision] and then all of a sudden turns it around as if this had some impact on a decision that I had already made.”

Corker also discussed the call he had with President Trump on Tuesday and said he now understands what the president has been facing in regards to false reporting.

“The president called yesterday. We had a warm conversation about numbers of issues,” continued Corker. “I told him that I had a healthy respect for the media. I deal with them all the time and, you know, to attack the media has not been something I’ve done. But I had a newfound empathy for him in watching how a totally debunked story – debunked by everybody involved. Orrin Hatch, Kevin Brady, the guys that actually wrote this bill knew I had nothing whatsoever to do with it… All of a sudden, people I respect in the news media – New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post – start printing this as if it’s true [and] a social media phenomenon generates from this. And I’ve never, ever used in my life the words ‘fake news’ until today, but I actually understand what it is the president has been dealing with.”

“Brian, I think it’s difficult for people to understand that when you make a decision on these big, big votes, you’ve got to decide is the country better off with this or not? And you’ve got to make a decision based on all the facts you have. Look, I’ve been very concerned about deficits here in our country. I think people know that. There’s no doubt that over a $43 trillion revenue base over the next ten years there’s the possibility of a $500 billion gap. But at the end of the day, to cause our companies to be competitive around the world, to keep companies from locating in other places, to continue to build on this dynamism that we have here in our nation, I felt like this was the right thing to do,” concluded Corker.

Over the weekend, a left-leaning website published a report by a former press secretary for Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) questioning the senator’s support for tax reform. The accusations have been debunked by those who wrote the legislation, including Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who said the assertions are “categorically false.”

“It takes a great deal of imagination – and likely no small amount of partisanship – to argue that a provision that has been public for over a month, debated on the floor of the House of Representatives, included in a House-passed bill, and identified by JCT as an issue requiring a compromise between conferees is somehow a covert and last-minute addition to the conference report,” Hatch wrote in a letter to Corker.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) also refuted the accusations, saying he and “conferees in the House” pushed for the provision in question and that the “claim that Senator Corker had anything to do with it, in my view, is baloney.”

Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), a member of the Senate tax-writing committee who was intricately involved in crafting the legislation, said: “…A left-wing website masquerading as a legitimate news outlet led by a former staffer of the junior senator from Vermont, published what it advertised as a breaking news story about the final bill. This story breathlessly claimed that, without a shred of evidence, that a provision had been air-dropped into the final draft in secret in order to secure the vote of a member who would supposedly personally benefit from it. This was a salacious tale from beginning to end. It was also completely false and invented. What the whole purpose of this exercise was, this false and invented story, is to undermine public confidence in this tax reform package that we will pass perhaps as early as tomorrow and be signed by the president before Christmas. Some of our friends on the other side of the aisle and their allies in the so-called mainstream media ran with it in a dishonest attempt to derail us from passing the bill and undermine the reputation for integrity of one of our fellow senators.”

“But what we saw happen this weekend, as I said, would have made a Russian intelligence officer proud,” Cornyn continued. “Shame on those who would perpetuate lies in an effort to deny the American people a much-needed tax cut and tax relief.”

2 Responses to In ‘warm conversation,’ Corker tells Trump of ‘newfound empathy’

  • John Stewart says:

    Methinks thou Dost protest too much. Way, way too much. Of course the hundreds of thousands of tax relief Corker will receive had absolutely nothing to do with his vote. Absolutely nothing!

  • David A. Collins says:

    Even if he is telling the truth, it does not help. It only means that some House member knew just what it would take to “buy” Corker’s vote—and, that person was correct. With one strategic amendment, all Corker’s BS about being a deficit hawk went out the window. Reminiscent of George H W Bush calling Ronald Reagan’s trickle down plan “voodoo economics” and then giving a gushing “YES” when asked to be his running mate. That’s the thing you can always rely on Republicans to do is sell out their principles to the highest bidder.

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