There’s plenty of daycare needs on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, but let’s get to the substantive issues first … such as they are. Anyone in the Senate who claims to be unaware of American troops in Niger needs to pay more attention, Bob Corker told Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie on NBC’s Today. “Yes, I was aware that we had troops there,” Corker says, because the administration sent a notice to the Senate months ago detailing the mission.
The problem, Corker says, is that Congress has not done a systematic review of the counter-terrorism mission since it launched after 9/11. “This is going to begin a bigger debate,” he says, “that was really already underway”:
I did know, I received a congressional notification – I think it was in June – they likely did too and just maybe somehow didn’t see that or notice it. I was aware, and I think at the time they notified us we had were 600 to 700 troops that were there.
It doesn’t take long for Guthrie to get to the feud between Corker and Donald Trump, and it’s clear that it’s still on. Corker had already dismissed Trump’s meetings on Capitol Hill with Republicans as a “photo op,” and expressed hope that Trump would stop taking ideas off the table prior to the tax committees drafting reform legislation. Guthrie gets more specific, asking Corker if Trump is “a threat to national security.” Corker won’t go that far, but he’s not backing down much off of his earlier statements either.
“There are people around him that work in an effort to contain him,” Corker tells Guthrie. “That would be Secretary Mattis, Tillerson, and General Kelly.” Corker especially wants Trump to allow Tillerson to hold the reins on diplomacy when it comes to North Korea and China. “When you kneecap your secretary of state whose diplomacy you have to depend upon,” he says, “you really move our country into a binary choice which could lead to a world war.”
For his part, Trump responded … just as you’d expect:
Aaaaaaand Corker shot right back:
Same untruths from an utterly untruthful president. #AlertTheDaycareStaff
— Senator Bob Corker (@SenBobCorker) October 24, 2017
It’s a great thing that we elected Republicans to control Washington, eh? Focused like a laser on our issues. This petty bickering might be amusing, but it’s not going to get anything accomplished except burnish a few egos. Even if he’s right about Corker (and he isn’t), Trump’s still going to need Corker to pass his tax-reform bill, in whatever form it eventually takes. He doesn’t really think that Rand Paul will vote yes on it and that John McCain will cooperate with reconciliation, does he?
Update: And yes, it’s still escalating … and Allahpundit will have more on that in an hour or so. Stay tuned.