White House blasts Republican senator's 'outrageous' criticism of Trump

Olivier Knox
Chief Washington Correspondent

The White House on Thursday angrily rejected as “ridiculous and outrageous” comments from Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R.-Tenn., questioning President Trump’s stability and competence.

Corker told reporters in Tennessee last week that Trump “has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability, nor some of the competence, that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful.” The lawmaker also said Trump “recently has not demonstrated that he understands the character of this nation,” an apparent reference to the president’s response to the white supremacist protest in Charlottesville, Va.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., delivered a blistering rebuke of President Trump in Chattanooga last week, saying he has not yet demonstrated the stability or competence required for an American president to succeed. (Photo: Tim Barber/Chattanooga Times Free Press via AP)

Asked about those comments, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders replied, “I think that’s a ridiculous and outrageous claim.”

Corker’s comments came as Republican lawmakers have shown increased willingness to criticize their party’s leader on a range of fronts.

Trump has reportedly vented his anger directly at the Tennessee Republican over the passage of a bill strengthening sanctions against Russia. Trump reluctantly signed the legislation into law earlier this month.

The comments from Sanders came hours after Trump sharply criticized Republican leaders in Congress on Twitter. He blamed them for the looming legislative “mess” over raising the nation’s debt ceiling and took aim at Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for the failure to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Asked about the increasingly fraught relationship between the president and his top allies in Congress, Sanders replied, “I think the relationships are fine.”

She added, “Certainly, there are going to be some policy differences, but there are also a lot of shared goals, and that’s what we’re focused on.”

The president is “disappointed that Obamacare, they failed to get it repealed and replaced,” she said. “But at the same time, President Trump has worked with leader McConnell to reach out to other members and to work on those shared goals, and we’re going to continue to do that when the Senate comes back from recess.”

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