The senator was an early supporter of Trump.Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) offered some blunt comments about President Donald Trump on Thursday in the wake of the president’s widely criticized response to a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend.
“The president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful. And we need for him to be successful, our nation needs for him to be successful,” Corker told reporters in Tennessee.
“He also has recently not demonstrated that he understands the character of this nation,” he added. “He has not demonstrated that he understands what has made this nation great and what it is today. He has got to demonstrate the characteristics of a president who understands that. And without the things that I just mentioned happening, our nation is going to go through great peril.”
Corker, an early Trump ally, added that he hoped the president would do “some self-reflection” so he could do “what is necessary to demonstrate stability, to demonstrate competence.” He went on to call for “radical changes at the White House.”
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman also said Trump did not speak “appropriately” when he refused to explicitly condemn white nationalist groups.
“I would ask he take stock of who he is, as president of all the people in our nation, and that he condemn those things that are separating us,” Corker said, adding that he disagreed with the president’s stance on Confederate statues. Some of those monuments are being taken down across the United States, and Trump responded by tweeting that it was “sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart.”
“We want to keep our history, we don’t want to wash away our history. But let’s put it in a museum,” Corker said of the monuments.
The senator hasn’t shied away from criticizing the president or his administration. In May, for example, he responded to reports that Trump had shared classified information with high-ranking Russian officials by saying the White House was in a “downward spiral.”
Corker has been less vocal, however, about what specific changes he’d like to see in the administration. He demurred when asked by a reporter on Thursday whether he thought controversial White House chief strategist Steve Bannon should resign.
“There just needs to be a different approach,” Corker said. “I don’t get into personalities.”