President Donald Trump took aim at Sen. Bob Corker on Twitter Tuesday and Wednesday morning, saying the Tennessee Senator "couldn't get elected dog catcher" and "had zero chance of being elected."
The comments come following an interview Corker gave on NBC's TODAY Show ahead of Trump's rare visit to meet the Senate Republicans.
The interview discussed Corker's criticism of the president, the GOP tax reform plan and the administration's efforts in Niger and North Korea.
Bob Corker, who helped President O give us the bad Iran Deal & couldn't get elected dog catcher in Tennessee, is now fighting Tax Cuts....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 24, 2017
Trump continued to tweet that "Corker dropped out of the race in Tennessee when I refused to endorse him, and now is only negative on anything Trump. Look at his record!"
Shortly after, Corker replied in a tweet calling the President "utterly untruthful."
Same untruths from an utterly untruthful president. #AlertTheDaycareStaff— Senator Bob Corker (@SenBobCorker) October 24, 2017
In which President Trump responded calling Corker a "lightweight."
Isn't it sad that lightweight Senator Bob Corker, who couldn't get re-elected in the Great State of Tennessee, will now fight Tax Cuts plus!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 24, 2017
After about an hour, Trump continued to tweet about Corker:
Sen. Corker is the incompetent head of the Foreign Relations Committee, & look how poorly the U.S. has done. He doesn't have a clue as.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 24, 2017
...the entire World WAS laughing and taking advantage of us. People like liddle' Bob Corker have set the U.S. way back. Now we move forward!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 24, 2017
A day later the president continued tweeting about Corker, saying he was one of two senators he did not meet with Tuesday:
The reason Flake and Corker dropped out of the Senate race is very simple, they had zero chance of being elected. Now act so hurt & wounded!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 25, 2017
The meeting with Republican Senators yesterday, outside of Flake and Corker, was a love fest with standing ovations and great ideas for USA!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 25, 2017
According to communications researchers at the University of Tennessee, the feud was trending on Twitter. As of late Tuesday morning, it had more than 50,000 mentions, which are tracked by the Adam Brown Social Media Command Center's software Salesforce.
"What we're actually able to notice here is get a bird's eye view of the conversation where people are mentioning the words that Senator Corker used," Brandon Boatwright, a communications graduate student, said.
The software shows that most of the mentions are negative, but researchers said that's likely because the content of the President's and the Senator's tweets included words the software categorizes as negative language.
Experts at the Howard Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, whose mission is to promote civility in government, said this kind of behavior only divides people, and it discourages an environment for political compromise.
"This kind of language that I don't think brings people together, and I think that's really very, very unfortunate and I don't know what we do to change that," Dr. Matthew Murray, director of the Baker Center, said.
Murray said historically politicians have not gotten along, but it wasn't as public. He hopes people take a stronger stance for civility.
"Who speaks like this?" Murray said. "It is not what we do in our normal days of life."
The TODAY Show asked Corker about a comment he made on Trump's tax reform lunch being a "photo op."
"Typically when something is getting ready to be launched like this, you know there's kind of a photo op, if you will. Tax writing committees in the Senate and the House are going to be laying out the $4 trillion in loophole closings that need to take place. Hopefully the White House will step aside and let that occur in a normal process," Corker said.
Corker announced in September that he would not seek re-election in 2018.
Corker said there is a lot of work to be done and mentioned that recently the White House has been taking a lot of things off the table.
Trump headed to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to participate in the senate Republican's weekly policy lunch.
The President has hosted the GOP conference at the White House more than once since taking presidency. However, this was his first time addressing senators at the capitol since he took office.
"The tough part of this is upcoming over the next several weeks," Corker said. "I think it's fine for him to come over, I do look at these things as more of a photo op, they're not really about substance but you know, more power to him."
Following the morning Twitter feud, Corker spoke to reporters about the support he used to have for the president.
"I think there were many people, I was one of those, that hope that, you know, he would rise to the occasion as president," Corker said, "...and aspire to lead our nation instead of dividing it."
Corker said he has a job as a senator to check on the president. He said the nation needs to support President Trump when he's right and check him when he's wrong.
"It's obvious his political model and governing model is to divide," Corker said.
Speaker Paul Ryan: "All this stuff you see on a daily basis on Twitter this and Twitter that – forget about it" https://t.co/mfrd7kBH10— NBC News (@NBCNews) October 24, 2017
Corker was also asked on the TODAY Show if he was aware of the number of soldiers operating in Niger after Sens. Lindsey Graham Chuck Schumer acknowledge that they didn't know about the number of soldiers operating there.
"I did know. I received a Congressional notification, I think it was in June, they likely did too and just maybe somehow didn't see that or notice it. But, I was aware and I think at the time they notified us, we had six to 700 troops that were there and as time goes on, you know these things expand," Corker said.