Sen. Bob Corker met with Donald Trump yesterday:
Sen. Bob Corker, who is rumored to be on Donald Trump’s short list for vice president, said Monday that he had “a good meeting about foreign policy and domestic issues” with the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
Corker, who said he’d never met with Trump before, downplayed the VP speculation, adding he had no reason to believe he was being considered for the #2 slot.
Corker had previously given Trump’s foreign policy speech a qualified positive review, and Trump has expressed interest in finding a running mate that understands the workings of Congress, so adding Corker to the ticket would seem to make some sense. It would still be a somewhat curious choice for Trump to make. Immigration isn’t the only issue that matters to Trump supporters, but they wouldn’t be pleased to have a supporter of the “Gang of Eight” immigration bill on the ticket. If the first rule in selecting a running mate is supposed to be to do no harm it is hard to see how Corker would be a good choice. Corker is usually seen as a moderate in the party, and Trump needs to shore up support with ideological movement conservatives, so it doesn’t really help him in unifying the Republicans head of the convention. The idea of putting Corker on the ticket is receiving some support from other Senate Republicans, but it’s not clear who else would be reassured or encouraged by the choice.
On foreign policy, Corker has a mostly bad record. He was one of a handful of Republicans to vote for New START ratification in 2010, but other than that I am hard-pressed to come up with an example of something Corker has gotten right. Hard-liners see him as the facilitator of the nuclear deal, but the reality is that the Corker-Cardin bill was an unnecessary bit of Congressional meddling that could have sabotaged the agreement. It failed to derail the deal only because most Democrats stayed on Obama’s side. Corker wanted the deal stopped, and said so many times. He has also affirmed his support for the appalling backing the U.S. has given the Saudis and their allies in Yemen. A Corker aide said that the senator believed that the Saudi-led intervention would “end the conflict, facilitate humanitarian relief, and restore the legitimate government of Yemen,” which would be laughable if it weren’t so obnoxious. Corker says he liked parts of Trump’s speech because he thought he heard “a degree of realism stepping back into U.S. foreign policy,” but since he took over at Foreign Relations Corker’s own realism has been notably absent.