(CNN) — Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker sharply criticized President Donald Trump’s demeaning comments about Attorney General Jeff Sessions, while bluntly warning that Trump would turn the United States into an authoritarian regime like Venezuela “if left to his own accord.”
Corker, a retiring Tennessee Republican, reacted strongly to comments reported in journalist Bob Woodward’s new book, with the President reportedly called the attorney general, who is from Alabama, a “dumb southerner” and “mentally retarded.”
Asked to respond Tuesday, Corker told CNN: “If the President doesn’t like his service, he can look him in the eye and terminate him. Whining is pretty unbecoming of a 13-year-old. But it’s very unbecoming of a 71- or 72-year-old President. … If he’s got a problem with Jeff Sessions, just fire him but he probably is afraid to do that before the midterms. But whining between now and then probably isn’t productive.”
Corker has been unsparing in his criticism of Trump at times, including warning that the President is “debasing” the United States and saying the country would descend into “chaos” if several top administration officials were not in their posts. Woodward, in his book, reports that aides at times would remove papers from Trump’s desk out of fear he would take steps to undercut the country’s security.
In Tuesday’s interview, Corker also pushed back at Trump’s Monday tweet that Sessions should have prevented two Republican congressmen from being indicted on federal charges to save their seats in the midterms.
“If left to his own accord, our country would look somewhat like Venezuela,” Corker said, referring to the authoritarian regime there. “It shocks me, some of the things, as if you treat your friends in one way and your political enemies in another way. Most presidents understand their role is different than this one does. He’s remarkable in his lack of appreciation for democratic values and institutions. And I think that’s where some of the greatest damage is being done to this country.”
The 448-page book, “Fear: Trump in the White House,” is slated for public release on September 11. CNN obtained a copy of the book, which Woodward says is drawn from hundreds of hours of background interviews with dozens of firsthand sources, including people in Trump’s inner circle.
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