Less than a year ago, Senator Bob Corker was being seriously considered for the posts of vice-president and secretary of state in President Donald Trump‘s administration.
But on Sunday, Trump and Sen. Corker engaged in a rancorous Twitter exchange that belied the fact that they were staunch allies only recently.
Trump began by blaming the Tennessee senator for “the horrendous Iran deal” and suggested that he was blocking the Republicans’ “great agenda” because Trump supposedly refused to endorse him for re-election.
Sen. Corker delivered this cutting rebuke:
A few hours later, Trump offered up another jibe.
The exchange comes after a period of simmering tension between the two men.
Corker, who was Trump’s foreign policy adviser during his presidential election campaign, has openly disagreed with Trump’s desire to rip up former president Barack Obama‘s nuclear deal with Iran, in which Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for a gradual lifting of international sanctions.
“It might feel good for a second,” Corker told the Associated Press. “But one of the things that’s important for us is to keep our allies with us, especially our Western allies.”
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Last week, Sen. Corker told NBC’s Meet the Press that he would vote against any Republican tax legislation that added “one penny” to the national deficit.
He took things up a notch a few days later, crediting secretary of state Rex Tillerson, defense secretary James Mattis and chief of staff John Kelly as being “those people that help separate our country from chaos.”
Corker’s willingness to oppose his own party’s agenda has been put down to the fact that he doesn’t intend to seek re-election next year, and is free to speak his mind.
White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said as much on Meet the Press, remarking that it would be “fun” to work with Corker because his impending retirement “sort of unleashes him to do whatever — and say whatever — he wants to say.”
Corker’s camp maintains that Trump actually begged him to reconsider his decision to retire, rather than the other way around, Reuters reported.
READ MORE: Rex Tillerson slams rumours he’s about to quit job as Trump’s top diplomat
Corker previously attracted Trump’s ire after he criticized his response to the violence at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, saying that Trump “has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability, nor some of the competence, that he needs to demonstrate in order for him to be successful.”
WATCH: Sen. Bob Corker critical of Trump, says he hasn’t displayed ‘competence’ to be successful
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