Category Archives: Bob Corker

Corker, Trump swap praise at N.C. campaign event

Excerpt from Michael Collins’ report on Sen. Bob Corker spending Tuesday with Donald Trump, including a campaign event in Raleigh, N.C.:

“I wasn’t going to say anything — I just came to visit,” Corker told the cheering crowd as he strolled onto the stage alongside Trump at the campaign event in Raleigh.

But the Chattanooga Republican, who is considered a potential running mate for Trump, said after spending the day with the New York real-estate mogul, his family and work associates, he had come to see why Trump is beloved by his followers.

“The reason you love him so much is because he loves you,” Corker said. “He loves you, and he wants the best for you.”

Trump returned the praise, calling Corker “a great friend of mine, somebody respected by everybody.”

Corker’s meeting with Trump, his second in just six weeks, and his subsequent appearance alongside Trump at the campaign rally will almost certainly ratchet up speculation that the senator could be joining the GOP ticket as Trump’s vice presidential pick.

…Trump is expected to announce his running mate before the Republican National Convention kicks off in Cleveland on July 18.

“If Donald Trump picks Sen. Corker as his vice presidential choice, it will strengthen the ticket and be a popular decision,” former Knoxville Mayor Victor Ashe said. “Bob’s record as a mayor, commissioner of finance in state government and U.S. senator is exceptional. He would be an outstanding vice president.”

Speculation that Corker might be in the running for the No. 2 spot on the GOP ticket started shortly after he told USA TODAY in early May he had offered to help Trump develop a foreign policy platform and stands ready to assist the presumptive nominee in the general election.

Later that month, Corker had a private, hour-long meeting with Trump at Trump Tower in New York. Corker described the meeting as a chance for the two to get to know each other better and said they talked about foreign policy issues.

Tuesday’s meeting also was held in New York a few hours before the campaign rally in Raleigh. Corker then flew to the campaign event with Trump.

At the campaign event, Corker said he’d had “a pretty remarkable day” with Trump.

In political campaigns, he said, candidates often “become caricatures of what the media makes them,” and that after the election “people realize they never really knew the person.”

But, he said, “it says a lot about a person to meet their family, spend time with their kids if you will and to be around the people that have worked in the Trump organization for 25 and 30 years, to see the respect they have for the person they have worked with … to see how he treats people around him.”

Corker being vetted as VP candidate, campaigns with Trump in N.C.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who is emerging as a finalist in the search for Donald Trump’s running mate, met privately with the presumptive GOP nominee on Tuesday in New York and was scheduled to later fly with the candidate to Raleigh, N.C., reports the Washington Post.

“Looking forward to meeting with [Corker] in a little while. We will be traveling to North Carolina together today,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

The meeting was held at Trump Tower, Trump’s Manhattan skyscraper, and served as an opportunity for him to bond with Corker — the chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee — as he evaluates his short list. Corker last visited Trump Tower in May.

The day of conversation and travel with Trump comes as Corker is being formally vetted for the vice-presidential nomination by Washington lawyer A.B. Culvahouse Jr. In recent weeks, Corker has provided documents to Culvahouse and been in close touch with top Trump advisers, according to two Republicans familiar with the selection process.

Culvahouse, a former White House counsel, has deep roots in Tennessee politics, going back to his time as an aide to Howard Baker, who was a senator and a towering figure in state history. Culvahouse has known Corker for years.

The Republicans spoke on the condition of anonymity because the details of Corker’s talks with Trump and of his vice-presidential vetting have been closely guarded by campaign officials. Spokesmen for Trump and Corker were unreachable for comment Tuesday.

But one Republican described the rapport between Trump and Corker as “natural and strong even if they aren’t the closest of friends” and said they share maverick instincts and an aversion to the hawkish tilt on foreign policy that has dominated their party.

Note: This updates, expands and replaces earlier post.

Corker included in AP list of Trump VP prospects

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Donald Trump’s vice presidential short list is heavy with Washington insiders who could help usher a President Trump’s agenda through the jungle of Congress.

He has narrowed it to a handful of contenders fewer than two weeks before the GOP is expected to nominate him for president.

But who would be Trump’s running mate is also a question of who would take the job in light of many Republicans’ ambivalence about his candidacy. Many establishment types in the party are skipping the GOP convention.

Here’s a look at some of the men and women he has met and is said to be considering:
Continue reading

Corker backs Trump on Brexit

Start of a Tennessean story:
With less than a month until presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is expected to name his running mate, U.S. Sen. Bob Corker praised the billionaire’s recent comments about Britain’s historic vote to leave the European Union.

In a Sunday morning interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Corker said he thought Trump’s Friday press conference after the Brexit vote was “one of his best events.”

Corker’s remarks came in response to a clip Tapper played of Trump discussing the declining value of the British pound. “If the pound goes down, they’re going to do more business,” Trump told reporters last week while in Scotland. “You know when the pound goes down, more people are coming to Turnberry, frankly.”

Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, blasted Trump for several of his comments related to the Brexit vote, saying the real estate mogul is “unfit” to be president.

Corker disagreed with Clinton’s assessment, saying, “Here he (Trump) was as a business person, an outsider, he happened to be in the country right after the Brexit vote had taken place, supporting his children and demonstrating that he was an outsider.”

Corker said Trump was giving an example that when the British currency fluctuates more Americans will be able to travel to the United Kingdom and that more of the country’s exports will “go at greater value.”

“I thought it was just demonstrating, you know, an anecdotal statement relative to its effect,” the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman said.

Although Corker has been frequently mentioned as a possible vice presidential candidate, he has been at-times critical of Trump, including in the aftermath of the June 12 shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando that left 49 dead and 53 wounded.

See also Politico, which begins its report thusly:

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker said Sunday he believes the rejection of the United Kingdom’s establishment leaders in the Brexit vote reflects a similar sentiment in the United States, one that has boosted Donald Trump’s candidacy.

“Almost the entire establishment in the UK was in the ‘remain’ camp. Look, there’s something in our society, it’s happening in Western societies, where there’s tremendous anxiety over economic stagnation, the whole issue of refugees and immigration that’s changing the context of countries and then this faceless bureaucracy that’s not really responding to people,” said Corker, considered a possible Trump veep pick, on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Alexander, Corker stick to party line in Senate gun votes

Tennnessee U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker backed two Republican proposals Monday designed to keep guns out of the hands of terrorists but voted against two Democratic gun measures that would have been more restrictive, reports Michael Collins.
All four measures fell short of the 60 votes needed to advance.

Alexander and Corker voted in favor of a proposal by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, that would have let federal law enforcement officials delay gun sales to suspected terrorists — including those on watch and no-fly lists — for three days and then halt the sales, but only after proving probable cause before a judge.

…The Tennessee senators also supported a separate proposal by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, that called for research on the causes of mass shootings and would have increased funding for the background check system, but would not have expanded the types of gun sales that require them.

…Senate Democrats argued the Republican proposals were inadequate. They offered their own gun-control proposals.

One would have allowed the attorney general to deny a gun sale to anyone if she has a “reasonable belief” — a lesser standard than “probable cause” — that the buyer was likely to engage in terrorism. The other would have closed the “gun show loophole” by requiring every gun purchaser to undergo a background check, and would have expanded the background check database.

Alexander and Corker voted against both measures.

Note: The press release spin from Alexander is HERE; from Corker, HERE.

Bob Corker meets the Dalai Lama

dalai

News release from Sen. Bob Corker’s office
WASHINGTON – On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, met with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Dr. Lobsang Sangay, the prime minister of the Tibetan government in exile.

“We were honored to welcome the Dalai Lama and Dr. Lobsang Sangay for a discussion about issues important to the U.S. and the people of Tibet,” said Corker. “At a time when our country is grappling with an increasingly unstable and uncertain world, we are inspired by his universal message, which reflects many of our own deeply-held values.”

Corker says Trump ‘continues to be discouraging’

Politico reports “a palpable mix of despair and resignation has permeated the Senate Republican Conference” in Washington because of Donald Trump — and quotes Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, mentioned as a prospective vice presidential nominee, in the article.

Trump’s insinuation that President Barack Obama may be sympathetic to Islamic State terrorists was the final straw for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“I’m not going to be commenting on the presidential candidates today,” the Kentucky Republican said Tuesday, an abrupt reversal after several weeks of weighing in on Trump’s performance, particularly the ways he believed the candidate needed to improve.

McConnell’s No. 2, Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas, declared he is done talking about Trump until after the election — nearly five months away.

“Wish me luck,” he said.

…Then there was Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, an oft-mentioned potential vice presidential pick for Trump. The chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, who met with the presumptive nominee at Trump Tower in New York last month, seemed almost dejected as he was pressed Tuesday about how Trump has handled the aftermath of the mass shooting Sunday at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

“I don’t know that I really have a lot to say,” the usually voluble Corker said twice. He eventually noted that he has offered advice to the businessman at key times but said he has been “discouraged by the results,” panning Trump’s high-profile foreign policy speech in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Monday.

“It wasn’t the type [of address] that one would expect a person who is wanting to lead the greatest nation in the world to make,” Corker added. “Fifty people have perished, and [53] more have been harmed.” Trump “continues to be discouraging.”

Corker: Investigation could be ‘blessing’ in dealings with Trump

Sen. Bob Corker insists that the federal investigation into his personal finances won’t hurt his chances of being tapped as Donald Trump’s vice president — not that he’s angling for the job, anyway.

So reports Politico. Excerpt:

“In some ways, you could look at what has happened over the course of the last year — if that was something that was gonna matter — you could almost look at it as a blessing,” the Tennessee Republican said in an interview, referring to the inquiries by the FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission. “From the standpoint of my finances, I will be the most vetted person here.”

Federal investigators are looking into possible financial irregularities involving CBL & Associates Properties, Inc., a Chattanooga, Tennessee-based real estate investment trust that owns or manages dozens of shopping centers and malls across the country. Corker has bought and sold millions of dollars in CBL stock since he was elected to the Senate in 2006, but failed to disclose several of those transactions. Now Corker finds himself ensnared in a federal probe.

Corker has ties to senior CBL officials — some of whom have donated to his election campaigns — and after he graduated from college, worked briefly for a contracting company that did business with CBL. Several of his CBL transactions occurred around the same time that UBS Securities made ratings changes on CBL stock.

Corker said he had no inside information on the company’s finances.

But because of his failure to report the CBL transactions, as well as others involving several hedge funds, Corker last year was forced to refile years’ worth of annual disclosure forms required of all lawmakers.

……“There is absolutely nothing there,” Corker said of the federal probe.

The second-term senator, who chairs the Foreign Relations Committee, downplayed speculation that he could be chosen as Trump’s running mate. Corker also has been mentioned as a potential secretary of state.

“First of all, I have no reason to believe that I am being considered for that position,” Corker said in response to a question about whether he wants to be chosen for vice president, or if the federal investigation could doom his chances. “I haven’t expressed any interest in it and never have.”

“I don’t even think there’s a list yet” of potential Trump running mates, Corker added. “And I have no reason to believe that if a list is developed, I’ll be on it.”

Corker said he and Trump didn’t discuss the possibility of his being picked for the ticket during their May 23 meeting at Trump Tower. “It wouldn’t have been appropriate,” Corker, 63, said. “The purpose was about foreign policy and just the shape of the campaign. It was really a sit-down meeting, the first chance we’ve had to get to know each other.”

Corker even tried to spin the revelation of the federal investigation into his finances as a positive development.

Corker’s personal finances under FBI, SEC scrutiny

The FBI and Securities and Exchange Commission are scrutinizing Tennessee GOP Sen. Bob Corker’s personal finances, including stock transactions involving one of the nation’s top developers of shopping centers and malls, says Politico, quoting “multiple sources familiar with the probe.”

Corker, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and a potential vice presidential pick, failed to report millions of dollars in assets and income on his annual financial disclosure until The Wall Street Journal revealed the discrepancy last fall. In the wake of that report, Corker was forced to revise years’ worth of disclosure reports.

Corker denies any wrongdoing in how he has conducted his personal finances. Approached in the Capitol on Tuesday, he declined to comment when asked if he had been contacted by federal investigators and said his office would provide a statement on the matter.

A Corker spokeswoman blamed a watchdog group, Campaign for Accountability, for filing a complaint with the SEC last year that led to the current federal probe that has ensnared the Tennessee Republican.

“A politically motivated special interest group that refuses to disclose its donors continues to make baseless charges against Senator Corker, and we know that any effort to examine his actions will result in their smear campaign being discredited,” said Micah Johnson, Corker’s spokeswoman.

Corker has denied having any inside information on CBL & Associates Properties, Inc., a Chattanooga, Tennessee-based real estate investment trust that owns or manages dozens of shopping centers and malls across the country. Corker briefly worked for a CBL subcontractor after college, and he has close ties to senior officials at the company, some of whom have donated to his election campaigns.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday night that the federal investigators are looking into possible irregularities in CBL financial statements. CBL said it had not been contacted by any federal agency. The Journal reported that FBI and SEC officials had found no evidence of wrongdoing by Corker. Continue reading

Corker, Trump confer — mostly on policy, senator says

NEW YORK (AP) — Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump met with Bob Corker in New York on Monday, intensifying speculation that the U.S. senator from Tennessee may be on Trump’s vice presidential shortlist.

Speaking to reporters following the meeting, Corker described the get-together at Trump Tower in Manhattan as “a meeting between two people who didn’t know each other except over phone calls getting to know each other.”

He said he has no reason to believe he’s being vetted as a potential Trump running mate or for a Cabinet position should Trump win the general election.

“I have no reason whatsoever to believe I am being considered for a position like that,” Corker told reporters who pressed him about various possible positions.

Corker is currently the chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. He also serves on the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.

In a statement, Corker’s chief of staff Todd Womack said the pair had “had a good meeting…in which they engaged in a wide-ranging policy discussion.”

Corker praised a high-profile foreign policy speech that Trump delivered in Washington last month, saying in a statement that “in a year where angry rhetoric has defined the presidential race on both sides of the aisle, it is my hope that candidates in both parties will begin focusing not only on the problems we face but on solutions.” He said he believed the speech “could be an important step in that direction.”

A Trump campaign spokeswoman did not immediately responded to a request for comment on the meeting.