CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WATE) – After twelve years in the United States Senate, Sen. Bob Corker has weeks left in office.
Corker says he still has no idea what’s next. He’s already ruled out a few options, including running a think tank or university. He also says after serving in the Senate, he has no interest in working in government relations. He hasn’t yet decided on running for President in 2020 yet.
His priority now, he explains, is finishing the final three weeks of legislative time strongly.
Corker says he still has work to do on TIP (Trafficking in Persons extension), fighting HIV around the world and legislation involving women’s empowerment in Africa.
“On January 3rd, Congressman Blackburn becomes Senator Blackburn. Once that begins and this ends, we’ll look into the future.” A Presidential run is “one of those things” Corker says he’ll look at after his time in the Senate.
He looked back on transitioning from Mayor of Chattanooga to the Senate.
“It’s been the greatest privilege of my life to serve in the Senate,” said Corker, who recalls battling the surge in Iraq, the financial crisis and the auto bailout.
Corker also remembers considering not running for a second term, and later becoming the chair of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
In that post, he looked back on his committee passing an authorization for the use of force against chemical attacks in Syria, which didn’t come to fruition. The aftermath, Corker said, was more than half a million lives.
Corker remembers humanitarian efforts, including his committee passing “Electrify Africa,” an effort to help some of the 600 million people there without electricity, which he says, came with no real cost to the taxpayer.
He also mentioned his committee’s effort to ensure clean water around the world, end modern slavery and human trafficking.
His first campaign priority campaign item, he says, was the fiscal issue facing the country. That priority, he says will go unfinished. Corker says he learned in Washington there was little appetite to solve the issue.
“We’re just in an era right now were people running for higher office aren’t willing to take that on. but it is an issue that’s going to haunt us at some point. the underpinnings of that are building right now and it’s going to have to be dealt with,” Corker said.
One of his not-so-happy memories in the Senate is a Twitter feud with President Trump.
One tweet from POTUS reads:
….and one of a couple rebuttals from Corker…
Corker says about the feud “I wouldn’t have anticipated, very candidly, any President would use Twitter the way this President uses Twitter. I wouldn’t have imagined that any President would use it to call people names and demean folks and send out tweets against world leaders but it’s happening and it’s the world we live in today.”
Corker also calls the slams against the media, including the claim that they make up the ‘enemy of the people’, “incredibly destructive to our country.”
Despite supporting many of the President’s policies, Corker still believes there’s need for improvement.
“I think the President still has some growth that needs to take place and I think, don’t know if this is a capability or not, but I think learning to address and appeal to the better angels of our nation and trying to pull people together to solve problems to me would be one of those areas.”
Corker says he’d like to see a President in the future focus on the fiscal issue facing the country.
“I would think anybody who is going to look at running for that office and to be taken seriously would have to address that issue.”
He commends the President on the “animal spirits going on economically,” as well as the two Supreme Court confirmations. Corker even brought up a few foreign policy wins, including the work against ISIS and the ongoing talks with North Korea.
Despite those positives, Corker fears we’re ripping apart alliances for the sake of ripping them apart, which he believes “probably doesn’t take us to a good place.”
Corker also chimed in on the special counsel’s investigation.
He doesn’t believe the President is going to “do away” with special counsel Robert Mueller. Corker added he would support an appropriate measure to make sure Mueller is protected.
“I think that this needs to finish. My sense is it’s coming to a close in the very near future and I want to see it end in the appropriate manner, meaning they need to finish their work,” he said.
Leaving the Senate on a positive note, Corker added, “we have the greatest country on earth. In spite of what may be said by people around the world, we’re still the shining city on the hill. We’re going through a period of time right now that’s polarizing and maybe some people attempt to make it even more so that way. But we’re going to move through this and our country will deal with our challenges in an appropriate way.”