Republican Tennessee senator Bob Corker withdrew from the Trump running mate pool before he hardly dipped his feet into the stagnant water. When he appeared at a Trump rally for a veep tryout, Corker found himself stumped for something good to say about Trump. He finally found two points he could compliment.
Chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Corker told the Raleigh, North Carolina crowd:
‘I WASN’T GOING TO SAY ANYTHING, I JUST CAME TO VISIT. BUT I HAVE TO TELL YOU SOMETHING. THE RALLIES THAT I HAVE BACK HOME AREN’T QUITE LIKE THIS: PRETTY COOL.’
Corker gave Trump eight hours, plus time with the presidential candidate’s eldest daughter and her husband Jared:
‘Yesterday tightened the bond and certainly a friendship has been created. It was a pretty remarkable day. I spent a good deal of time with Ivanka and Jared.’
The senator also met with Paul Manafort and Trump’s son Eric. Corker came away with a different opinion of the billionaire:
‘I do wish people had an opportunity to visit there and see the people who work with him. They’re the kind of people I like to be associated with.’
Corker says that he saw a different man than the caricature Trump displays when he is in front of the cameras and crowds:
‘You don’t get the caricature of Trump, if you will. You see he couldn’t be more of a gentlemen and how he acts the same with both the most senior and the most junior people around him.’
Trump first noticed Corker, when the senator praised some of Trump’s foreign policy. The two realized they share a similar view of foreign policy and operating in the world generally, and neither man aligns himself with the GOP’s hawks.
So why did the senator take himself of the race? Corker said in an interview with the Washington Post he is eager to be an “informal adviser,” but:
‘There are people far more suited for being a candidate for vice president, and I think I’m far more suited for other types of things.’
Corker doesn’t believe he could be a good political attack dog or gin up the crowds during rallies:
‘It’s a highly political job, and that’s not who I am. We had a very open conversation about that, and actually, we have been very candid about it from the very beginning of our meetings.’
The senator describes himself as more policy-based than political:
‘I left there feeling very good about him as a person but also realized that at age 63, I know the things I’m good at doing. And knowing what a candidate for vice president has to do, it’s just not the right thing for me, and I don’t think it’s the right thing for them.’
Corker anticipates Trump will make a final decision on his vice president pick by July 15, which is three days before the Republican National Convention kicks off:
‘So, I’m going to move on. I am very positive about him as a person. It was incredible to be with him in Raleigh and see the way people react to him. They’re so excited, and I truly believe he has such an opportunity ahead.’
Trump has seriously considered Corker as his V.P. for over a month, and the senator even submitted the vetting documents. But then he left abruptly, leaving the billionaire with a declining number of choices.
According to Trump campaign members, former House speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, and Chris Christie of New Jersey are at the top of the very short list.
Corker considered the visit with Trump exploratory. No one specific item caused him to leave, but generally speaking, the difference is that he prefers policy over politics.