Corker for president? ‘It’s way too early to be thinking about those things’

Retiring U.S. Sen. Bob Corker on Friday wouldn’t rule out a possible 2020 challenge to President Donald Trump, but stressed his primary focus remains on completing his third and final term in the Senate, reports the Times Free Press.

“The only thing I’m talking about now over the next 14 months truly is doing the best job I can as a senator,” the former Chattanooga mayor told reporters in Gatlinburg after a state economic and community development conference.

Asked whether he was thinking about or ruling out a Republican primary challenge to Trump in 2020, Corker said: “If you even begin thinking those things, everything you do becomes viewed through a different lens. I’ve got 14 months to do the best job that I can.”

“It’s way way too early,” Corker later noted. “Does [Trump] even run again? It’s way too early to be thinking about those things.”

The Tennessee Republican spoke to reporters came after a luncheon speech at the annual Governor’s Conference on Economic and Community Development… Corker has been embroiled for more than two months in an escalating feud with Trump.

…Among other things, Trump charged that the senator couldn’t get elected “dog catcher” in his home state.

“Well,” Corker drawled Friday, “I like dogs, so that’s pretty offensive.”

Earlier, Corker won warm applause and sometimes laughs from hundreds of county and city mayors as well as economic development officials as he, Alexander and Haslam discussed issues, governance and stylistic approach to public office.

“I think you build political capital to use it. Burn it up. I realize I may burn everyone,” Corker said, drawing laughs. “But that’s the purpose of building capital, is to use it.”

But “to get nothing done is a total waste of time,” Corker said to applause.

The senator also dismissed suggestions, most notably from New York Times conservative columnist Ross Douthat, that if Corker is serious about Trump’s fitness for office, he should call openly for impeachment or removal through the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“That’s not going to happen,” Corker said. “The best thing we can do is when the president’s right, support the things that he’s doing. I think we have the opportunity to do something good on taxes. And oppose him when he is wrong. We also should strongly support those within the administration who are giving him advice we believe to be appropriate.”

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