It’s a job that Sen. Bob Corker never really wanted.
Anyone who had spoken with the Tennessee Republican in recent weeks noticed the distaste with which he viewed various scandal-oriented questions regarding Donald Trump. On Wednesday, he told the press he had withdrawn his name from consideration as the businessman’s running mate, something The Daily Beast has confirmed.
“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 told The Washington Post. “It’s a highly political job, and that’s not who I am.”
Being Trump’s running mate was a poor fit from the start. Corker is a technocratic, policy-oriented lawmaker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and an even-handed Republican who didn’t have a knee-jerk instinct to attack Democrats for the mere purpose of scoring political points.
The contrast between Trump and Corker was especially obvious following the businessman’s comments about a Hispanic-American judge. Trump had suggested that a judge, born in Indiana, could not be fair to him in a legal case due to his Mexican heritage.
When asked about it the next day, the former Tennessee mayor stood there, appalled.
“The last five or six days have been very negative,” Corker said in early June.
He then urged his party’s presidential nominee to “move into a very different place”
But the Trump scandal factory continued to churn out products: every time Corker was asked about the latest news, he looked a little more dejected. He had played down veep speculation before, even as he met with Trump at Trump Tower in May.
On Wednesday, the press-friendly lawmaker was nowhere to be seen during the weekly lunches that Republican senators typically meet for in the Capitol—an oddity for a man who normally makes himself available to speak at length about foreign policy or ongoing political topics.
It might have had something to do with his trip the day before when Corker accompanied Trump from New York City to Raleigh, N.C.. His presence fueled speculation he may be considering a place on the ticket—despite dozens of serious minded Republicans foreign policy experts had refused to endorse Trump.
On Tuesday night, it seemed like Corker finally understood why.Corker stepped on the stage to introduce Trump at a raucous rally in Raleigh. He stood there long enough to hear Donald Trump praise a tyrant.
“[Saddam Hussein] killed terrorists. He did that so good. They didn’t read them the rights. They didn’t talk. They were terrorists. Over…” Trump said.
And Corker is a serious person: as a Republican who had a less hawkish vision of U.S. foreign policy, he had played a central role in many of the ongoing national security debates of our times. From his post as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and before that, the top-ranking Republican on the committee in the minority, Corker had serious input on anti-ISIS strategy, the Iran nuclear deal, and the Authorization for the Use of Military Force.
The next day, Corker called The Washington Post. He was out.