President Trump implied Tuesday that the New York Times tricked Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., by taping the interview in which Corker said he thought Trump might start World War III.
“The Failing @nytimes set Liddle’ Bob Corker up by recording his conversation,” Trump tweeted Tuesday. “Was made to sound a fool, and that’s what I am dealing with!”
Trump was referencing an interview Corker gave to the New York Times Sunday. The senator, who recently announced he will not seek reelection, said, on the record, that he worried the country was heading “towards World War III” as a result of Trump’s provocative comments about North Korea.
The interview was recorded both by the Times reporter, Jonathan Martin, and two Corker staffers who were on the line. In a partial transcript, Corker begins the interview by confirming, “I understand we’re on the record.”
A spokesman for the Times told Yahoo News, “Sen. Corker agreed to the interview and knew it was being recorded,” as is standard practice for interviews with public officials. Corker’s office had no comment.
The “liddle” moniker is recycled from the primary campaign, when Trump would use it to demean Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., emphasizing the diminutive spelling at rallies and in an interview. Corker is 5 feet 7. Rubio is 5 feet 9. Trump claims to be 6 feet 3.
The president has repeatedly lashed out at the senator in recent days, apparently provoked by Corker’s comment that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly are all that separate the “country from chaos.”
“Senator Bob Corker ‘begged’ me to endorse him for re-election in Tennessee,” Trump tweeted Sunday in response. “I said ‘NO’ and he dropped out (said he could not win without my endorsement). He also wanted to be Secretary of State, I said ‘NO THANKS.‘”
“Hence, I would fully expect Corker to be a negative voice and stand in the way of our great agenda,” Trump added. “Didn’t have the guts to run!”
Corker responded, “It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.”
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