Sen. Corker: ‘Tribal’ politics over President Trump polarizing Congress

“Tribal” politics over President Donald Trump threatens to polarize Congress to the point that it can’t solve the nation’s problems, U.S. Sen. Bob Corker says.

The Tennessee Republican said last week in Chattanooga that national politics has been distilled to a single point in both the GOP and the Democratic Party.

“It’s Trump. You’re with him or you’re against him, and that’s all the campaigns are about now.”

The Republican with one foot out the Senate door told Times Free Press reporters and editors his party has discarded core principles under Trump.

“Before the [2016] election, Republicans generally thought that America was a force for good in the world, and their involvement helped make the world a better place and made us as a country safer. But not so much anymore,” Corker said.

“Republicans used to believe in fair free trade, and, really, Republican congressional people still do. But the base following the president, he doesn’t. So not so much anymore, free trade.

“Republicans used to care about fiscal issues? Not so much anymore.

“And then Republicans had a lot of respect for the institutions of government, right, because we’re conservative, traditional people? Not anymore.

“Now, it’s so tribal. The Republican base out there, which has changed a lot since the election, all they want to know is, are you a Trumper? Period. I don’t care what the issue is.

“And I would guess on the Democratic side they want to know one thing, are you doing everything you can to hurt the president?”

Trump supporters say he’s doing what he promised, cutting taxes and regulations, supporting gun rights and getting a conservative appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Corker has mostly supported Trump, even though he hasn’t minced words about what he sees as the president’s shortcomings.

But the hyped-up political bases of both parties are making it tough to do the people’s business, Corker said. Republicans’ hatred of taxes and Democrats’ rigidity against entitlement reform make realistic budgeting impossible, he added.

“We’re in a place where Republicans, period, are not going to propose paying for anything, and where Democrats, period, are not…

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