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Kuhner's Corner: Trump vs. the Republicans

Corker and GOP establishment declare war on Trump

Jeff Kuhner
October 11, 2017 - 11:56 am
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President Trump is at war with his own party. This is the deeper meaning of his feud with Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee. It exposes a fundamental divide—one that cannot be bridged and threatens to tear the GOP apart.

Corker is a globalist RINO. In an interview with the New York Times, he smeared Trump as a child and “reality TV star,” who has turned the White House into an “adult day care center.” The reason for Corker’s animosity: He believes the president is taking America down the path to World War III, especially regarding North Korea. Corker’s words carry extra weight because he is the chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The real reason is more sordid. According to Trump, Corker wanted the president’s endorsement for his re-election bid next year. Trump refused. Corker then asked to be secretary of state to replace Rex Tillerson, who is rumored to be on the way out. Trump again said no. Facing a serious conservative primary challenge from Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Corker threw in the towel and announced he will be retiring. Having seen what happened to his friend and fellow establishment Republican, Sen. Luther Strange, in Alabama, Corker read the writing on the wall: His political days were numbered. So now the swamp creature is showing his true colors. Corker claims that most of his colleagues in the Republican caucus share his views on Trump—except they are unwilling to go public (for now). He admits Washington Republicans have sought to thwart and undermine Trump’s America First agenda.       

This should come as no surprise. Corker is a pillar of the ruling class. He is an open-borders, free trade Republican backed by the Chamber of Commerce. He was instrumental in helping then-President Barack Obama craft the disastrous Iran deal, which puts the Islamic fascists in Tehran on the path toward acquiring the nuclear bomb. Trump is on the verge of decertifying the pact, thereby rolling back a signature Obama achievement—a move that is being fiercely resisted by the foreign policy establishment. In other words, Corker has been wrong on almost every major issue—from border security to trade to appeasing the mullahs. When it comes to siding with his constituents or the donor class, Corker has always put the interests of GOP elites first.

He should be ashamed. Like a typical RINO, Corker is much tougher on Trump than he ever was on Obama. Not once did the Tennessee senator attack Obama in a personal, savage style the way he has against the president. In fact, the very opposite is true: Corker and the Senate Republicans repeatedly caved to Obama. Benghazi, Fast and Furious, the misuse of the IRS to target conservatives, Obamacare, the erection of a national surveillance state, the illegal war in Libya, skyrocketing deficits, unconstitutional executive amnesties and the CIA’s covert campaign to arm ISIS and al Qaeda in Syria—all of this never led Corker or his fellow RINOs to stand up to Obama. Instead, they funded every single one of Obama’s initiatives. Think about it: Beltway Republicans got along better with a radical leftist Democrat, such as Obama, than they have with a president from their own party. Why? The reason is obvious: Obama was a globalist, Trump isn’t.

Hence, when asked about which side he supports in the Trump-Corker feud, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not blink. He backs Corker, calling the Tennessee Republican a “valuable member of the team.” In other words, the establishment sticks together—no matter what.

McConnell’s outright backing is a watershed. It represents a fatal rupture between the permanent political class and Trump. The establishment has put the president on notice: His economic nationalist and populist agenda will be blocked at all costs. The goal is to overturn the 2016 election results, and deny Trump’s voters the mandate they won. The GOP elite has officially declared war not just on Trump, but on his America First platform.

It’s now time to declare war on them. Steve Bannon, the former White House chief strategist, is leading the charge. In the wake of Corker’s political treason, Bannon has announced that nearly all of the Senate Republicans up for re-election next year will face a conservative insurgent—the sole exception being Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. The aim is to turn the Alabama primary into a national model: purge the GOP of its treacherous RINO wing. Bannon’s hope is to weaken McConnell’s grip on power by slowly knocking off his establishment sycophants and replacing them with reliable Trump populists. In short, Bannon is attempting a hostile takeover of the Republican Party. The only way to drain the swamp is to drain the GOP of its globalist rats and Never Trump snakes.

Trump is now effectively a president without a party. The liberal Democrats and corporatist Republicans have formed an unholy alliance. If the GOP cannot be changed—and saved—from within, then there is only one option left: the formation of a third party. McConnell, Corker and their ilk are playing with fire. This Republican civil war may lead to the birth of a new America First party, and with it the death of the GOP establishment. Good riddance.                  

-Jeffrey T. Kuhner is host of “The Kuhner Report” on WRKO AM-680 in Boston.

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