The White House on Tuesday escalated its feud with Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerDeficit hawks voice worry over direction of tax plan The Hill Interview: Budget Chair Black sticks around for now Overnight Finance: White House requests B for disaster relief | Ex-Equifax chief grilled over stock sales | House panel approves B for border wall | Tax plan puts swing-state Republicans in tough spot MORE, sending an unmistakable signal to other Republicans that public criticism of President Trump will be met with a fierce public scolding.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders used her news briefing to tear into Corker, saying he had “rolled out the red carpet” for the Iran nuclear deal. She also voiced ambivalence about calls from Trump allies for the Tennessee Republican to resign.
The barbs followed a fresh Twitter blast from Trump, in which the president gave the 5-foot-7-inch Corker a new disparaging nickname, “‘Liddle’ Bob,” and said he had been made to look like a “fool” in an interview.
While many Senate Republicans were hoping to move on from the dispute, which began over the weekend, the White House appeared interested in underlining the consequences for any Republican who crosses Trump.
In comments criticizing Trump over the weekend, Corker openly worried that the president could lead the country into World War III and said that almost every other Senate Republican shared his concerns.
Those remarks had to alarm a White House that has struggled to move forward with its agenda.
Still, the attacks on Corker are unlikely to help Trump notch a much-needed legislative victory.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman is a key player on the issues expected to dominate Washington this fall, including tax reform. He also joins a growing list of Republican senators who may have reason to balk at White House demands.
Sanders seemed ready to take on Corker from the opening of her briefing, saying the senator was partially…