Washington pundits were abuzz with speculation late last week when it was announced that Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) would meet with President Trump at the White House on Friday.
News reports about what transpired at that meeting when the two men finally met in person after several weeks of mutual public criticism suggest the results were largely uneventful.
“The president and Senator Corker had a productive meeting in which they discussed a wide range of shared legislative priorities for the fall session,” the Washington Examiner reported “the White House said in a readout following the sit-down.”
That plain vanilla statement about a “a productive meeting” is standard operating procedure in Washington for describing meetings where nothing of substance is accomplished.
The Examiner story continued:
Corker, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, sat down with Trump days before the president is slated to meet with several heads of state at the 72nd annual United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York City. The two men discussed the current state of foreign affairs and the administration’s desire for bipartisan tax reform, according to the readout.
“The administration looks forward to continued partnership with Senator Corker and other members of Congress in order to ensure a productive fall legislative session,” the White House said.
Trump and Corker clashed late last month after the president initially declined to explicitly condemn several white nationalist groups that were behind a rally that turned violent in Charlottesville, Va.
A story in Politico subsequently suggested that Corker influenced President Trump at that meeting to schedule a rally in Hunstville, Alabama this coming Saturday to back the establishment candidate he has previously endorsed in the upcoming September 26 Republican U.S. Senate runoff election in Alabama:
Strange’s Republican colleagues got in on the push, too. Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, who is up for reelection in 2018 and faces the prospect of a primary challenge, spoke extensively with Trump on Friday. According to two people familiar with the conversation, Corker told Trump that Strange’s fate hinged on the president going to bat for him.
Speculation about Corker’s political future continues to run rampant.
A Tennessee Star Poll released in June showed that Corker, who is up for re-election in 2018, is extremely vulnerable for an incumbent. The poll found that Corker and potential challenger Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-07) were in a statistical tie in a head-to-head matchup.
For his part, Corker has yet to announce whether he will run for a third term.
Last week, former Americans for Prosperity-Tennessee executive director Andy Ogles announced that he is a candidate for the U.S. Senate nomination in the August 2018 Republican primary. That news makes the conservative activist the only announced Republican candidate so far for the seat currently held by Corker.
Several other Republicans are considering entering the race to challenge Corker, including State Senator Mark Green (R-Clarksville), Rep. Blackburn, and former State Rep. Joe Carr (R-Lascassas)