“He has calibrated his retirement announcement to encourage speculation about a 2020 bid, for which his recent comments are clearly useful in positioning him as an establishment primary challenge to Trump. What is it, exactly, that anyone should respect here?”
.. Republicans must honestly face the president’s mental health, admit that the president often tells falsehoods and recognize that the real power lies in the Senate — not with the executive branch.
.. “That Corker is the only Republican openly remarking on the irresponsibility of this behavior is, frankly, an indictment of the rest of the party.”
Mr. Shepp does not think that the president’s critics should give Mr. Corker and others like him too much credit. “They had enough evidence to know exactly what kind of erratic person they were hitching their wagons to last year, and went ahead and endorsed him anyway,” he writes.
.. “Corker is saying out loud what I hear privately from sources throughout the military and the U.S. government, and from both foreign ambassadors and visiting foreign diplomats.”
.. Perhaps he can subpoena executive branch witnesses, or draft legislation “about the procedure, the grounds, and the justifications before the U.S. commits troops to war.”
.. After Mr. Trump’s surprise victory in 2016, many pundits ascribed a strategic genius to him and his team that everyone missed. The shorthand for this was saying that he was playing three-dimensional chess while everyone else was playing a more traditional game. According to Mr. Cillizza, however, this latest spat between the president and the senator shows that there is really no strategy at play. Mr. Trump, if he cared about getting tax reform accomplished, Mr. Cillizza writes, would not attack an important and respected member of the Senate. “Hitting everyone who hits you, of course, isn’t a strategy. It’s a tactic. And, not a very good one at that.”
.. “For perhaps the Republican senator with the strongest reputation on foreign affairs to say that the president was risking ‘World War III’ isn’t just talk; in politics, talk often is action.”
Mr. Trump’s West Wing has always seemed to be the crossroads between cutthroat politics and television drama, presided over by a seasoned showman who has made a career of keeping the audience engaged and coming back for more. Obsessed by ratings and always on the hunt for new story lines, Mr. Trump leaves the characters on edge, none of them ever really certain whether they might soon be voted off the island.
“Absolutely, I see those techniques playing out,” said Laurie Ouellette, a communications professor at the University of Minnesota who has studied reality television extensively. “Reality TV is known for its humiliation tactics and its aggressive showmanship and also the idea that either you’re in or you’re out, with momentum building to the final decision on who stays and who goes.”
.. dismissed Mr. Corker on Tuesday by mocking his height and suggesting he had somehow been conned. “The Failing @nytimes set Liddle’ Bob Corker up by recording his conversation,” Mr. Trump wrote. “Was made to sound a fool, and that’s what I am dealing with!”
.. Mr. Trump later denied that he had demeaned his secretary of state. “I didn’t undercut anybody. I don’t believe in undercutting people,” he told reporters, in a comment that must have amused the many people he has undercut since taking office.
.. “With Jemele Hill at the mike, it is no wonder ESPN ratings have ‘tanked,’ in fact, tanked so badly it is the talk of the industry!” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter.
.. Andy Cohen, the creator of the “Real Housewives” reality television show franchise, found that too rich. “This is actually happening,” he wrote on Twitter. “All the wives are fighting. Even I AM SPEECHLESS.”
.. This has exceeded what would have been allowed on ‘The Apprentice,’” she said. “It’s almost a magnification. It’s like reality TV unleashed. Yes, he was good at it, but I always felt like he had to be reined in in order not to mess up the formula. Here, he doesn’t have that same sort of constraint.”