Sen. Bob Corker: Republican Party Now in ‘Cult-Like Situation’ With Trump

The retiring senator made the remarks after incumbent Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC) lost his primary Tuesday evening to a Trump-approved candidate.

Joshua Roberts

Retiring Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) on Wednesday was extremely critical of the state of the Republican Party in the wake of major primary victories for the GOP’s far-right, Trumpist contingency.

“We’re in a strange place,” Corker told told MSNBC the morning after incumbent conservative Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC) lost his primary battle against Trump-approved candidate Katie Arrington. “I mean it's almost becoming a cultish thing, isn’t it? It’s not a good place for any party to end up with a cult-like situation as it relates to a president that happens to be of, purportedly, of the same party.”

Sanford lost his shot at reelection Tuesday evening, just hours after President Trump publicly scorched him for being insufficiently deferential to the Trump administration.

“Mark Sanford has been very unhelpful to me in my campaign to MAGA,” the president wrote, hours before the polls closed. “He is MIA and nothing but trouble. He is better off in Argentina. I fully endorse Katie Arrington for Congress in SC, a state I love. She is tough on crime and will continue our fight to lower taxes. VOTE Katie!”

Corker also gave a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday afternoon bashing his party’s leadership and suggesting that they essentially cower before the president—especially on issues like tariffs, which, under any other president, would be a bugaboo for Republicans.

“We might poke the bear!” the senator said, specifically arguing that Republicans refused to vote on legislation that would give Congress the chance to reject or accept Trump’s proposed new tariffs.

“The United States Senate right now on June 12 is becoming a body where, well, we'll do what we can do, but my gosh, if the president gets upset with us, then we might not be in the majority,” he continued. “And so let’s don't do anything that might upset the president.”