Corker on shutdown: Trump trying to ‘look like he’s fighting’

(CNN) — Tennessee GOP Sen. Bob Corker said on Sunday that President Donald Trump pushed the government into partial shutdown as an act of political posturing.

“This is a made-up fight, so the President can look like he’s fighting, but even if he wins, our borders are going to be insecure,” Corker said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Corker’s comments came as the partial government shutdown went into its second day, following Congress and Trump failing to come to a funding agreement on Friday. The Senate adjourned on Saturday without an agreement, meaning the shutdown would likely continue past Christmas.

Corker, a retiring senator and frequent Trump critic, said the dispute over border security and Trump’s proposed border wall was “a purposefully contrived fight” and argued the fight was small in scope compared to a proposed deal earlier this year ahead of a January government shutdown that would have combined greater money at the border along with protection for “Dreamers.”

“We can secure our borders,” Corker said. “We can solve this problem. This is a made-up fight.”

Asked if he meant Trump was using this as a campaign issue rather than seeking a deal, Corker said, “it has to be that.”

“It’s a spectacle, and candidly, it’s juvenile,” Corker said. “The whole thing is juvenile.”

On Sunday afternoon, Trump personally responded to Corker’s CNN appearance and took issue with Corker’s criticism of his decisions to withdraw troops from Syria and plan for a drawdown in Afghanistan.

Later, he continued:

Trump’s tweets largely mirrored an attack against Corker from late 2017, shortly after Corker announced he would not seek re-election. At the time, Corker’s chief of staff Todd Womack said Trump had called Corker asking the Tennessee senator to reconsider retiring and “reaffirmed that he would have endorsed him.”

Womack on Sunday stood by his statement from October 2017.

Two sources told CNN at the time that Trump told Corker he would endorse him the day he announced he would retire. Likewise, as CNN has previously noted, Corker was opposed to the Iran Deal.

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