In the days since prominent Republican Senator Bob Corker publicly ripped into Donald Trump, accusing him of being a toddler who’s going to get us all killed, the question has been which Senate Republican might join him in speaking up against Trump. The silence has been deafening, though it’s been a tacit admission that no one in the Senate disagrees with Corker when it comes to Trump. However, now another prominent GOP Senator is indeed ripping into Trump.
If your guess was Senator John McCain, you’ve guessed correctly. Rather than an open-ended smackdown like the one Corker delivered, McCain was much more specific and measured in the statement he released condemning Trump today. McCain and Democratic Senator Ben Cardin released a joint statement calling out Trump for having failed to implement the Russian sanctions bill that Congress passed – and that Trump reluctantly signed – quite awhile back (link). Although this was comparatively tame in comparison to Corker’s all-out rant, it matters quite a bit.
This now officially means that the first (and thus far only) Senate Republican response to Bob Corker’s blistering Trump takedown is also a condemnation of Trump. GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell is doing nothing to push back against this; instead he’s content to sit back and let his own members individually take whatever shots at Trump they deem appropriate. Even more notably, no one in the Republican Senate has been willing to even partially come to Trump’s defense. This suggests that they know it’s a losing proposition at this point. None of them want to be married to him, for fear of what comes next.
This may also offer some context for why Republican Senator Lindsey Graham went golfing with Donald Trump on Monday. Graham seemed to be trying to butter Trump up and gain his trust, raising the question of whether it might be tied to Bob Corker’s clear desire to get Trump ousted. Now Graham’s best friend John McCain is publicly condemning Trump, further raising the question of whether Graham and McCain are up to something. Keep an eye on this; there’s more to come.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report