Concerns over Trump’s temperament and fitness to serve in office prompted the inquiry into his use of nuclear weapons.
Republican Senator Bob Corker is one of Trump’s fiercest critics within the GOP, and as CNBC reported today: “After months of questioning President Donald Trump’s temperament and fitness for office, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., announced Wednesday that he would convene a hearing to examine the president’s authority to use nuclear weapons,” said hearing to occur on November 14, 2017 before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Continuing, CNBC reported that:
The hearing was announced less than a day after Trump delivered a speech in which he called the nuclear-armed North Korean dictatorship a “dark fantasy” and a “military cult.”
“A number of members both on and off our committee have raised questions about the authorities of the legislative and executive branches with respect to war making, the use of nuclear weapons, and conducting foreign policy overall,” Corker said in a statement.
“This continues a series of hearings to examine those issues and will be the first time since 1976 that this committee or our House counterparts have looked specifically at the authority and process for using U.S. nuclear weapons. This discussion is long overdue, and we look forward to examining this critical issue,” Corker added.
CNBC reported that Corker’s announcement “amounts to a significant escalation of what has so far been a war of merely words between the powerful Republican and his party’s standard-bearer.”
That war of words escalated roughly a month ago in early October when a no-holds-barred war erupted between Corker and Trump after Corker offered what The Washington Post called an “extraordinarily dim assessment of the Trump administration” while commenting on an NBC News report that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had to be talked out of resigning after disagreements with Trump.
“I think Secretary Tillerson, [Defense] Secretary [Jim] Mattis and [White House] Chief of Staff [John] Kelly are those people that help separate our country from chaos, and I support them very much,” Corker stated at the time.
Annoyed by Corker’s remarks, Trump took to twitter the following day tweeting:
Senator Bob Corker “begged” me to endorse him for re-election in Tennessee. I said “NO” and he dropped out (said he could not win without my endorsement). He also wanted to be Secretary of State, I said “NO THANKS.” He is also largely responsible for the horrendous Iran Deal! Hence, I would fully expect Corker to be a negative voice and stand in the way of our great agenda. Didn’t have the guts to run!
Corker pushed back with a tweet of his own:
It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.
It's a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.
— Senator Bob Corker (@SenBobCorker) October 8, 2017
About three weeks later, Corker joined NBC’s “Today Show“ to weigh in on the deadly Niger ambush that left four U.S. soldiers dead,
Asked by co-host Natalie Morales: “Left to his own devices, do you think the president is a threat to national security?” Corker warned that Trump’s aggression directed toward North Korea serves to “kneecap” Rex Tillerson, his Secretary of State, and his efforts with Pyongyang – moving the world closer to “world war.”
When you send out tweets into the region to raise tensions, when you kneecap, which is what he’s done publicly, when you kneecap your secretary of state, whose diplomacy you have to depend upon to really bring China to the table to do the things that need to be done, back-channeling in some cases to North Korea, when you kneecap that effort you really move our country into a binary choice which could lead to a world war. So, yes, I want him to support diplomatic efforts, not embarrass and really malign efforts that are underway to try to get some kind of a diplomatic solution here and I think most people would agree on that.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment by CNBC regarding the November 14 hearing as of the time of the publication of this article.