Trump’s harshest critics are always secretly begging him for stuff, according to Trump

The president used his same-old playbook to attack his latest critic, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN).

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN)
Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) spoke at March 2017 Trump campaign rally in Nashville. CREDIT: AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) is chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and supported Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. So when the man who, 18 months ago, praised then-candidate Trump’s stated foreign policy plans as “very thoughtful” and lauded him for “challenging the foreign policy establishment” suggested that the nation’s foreign policy is no longer in the hands of a grown-up, the president did what he usually does when criticized.

On Sunday morning, Trump took to Twitter to lash out at Corker, who announced in September that he will not seek a third-term next year. Trump’s attack claimed that Corker’s decision came after Trump refused to offer a purportedly “begged”-for re-election endorsement:

Trump was apparently reacting to Corker’s comments last Wednesday that “Secretary [of State Rex] Tillerson, [Defense] Secretary [James] Mattis and [White House] Chief of Staff [John] Kelly are those people that help separate our country from chaos.”

A ThinkProgress review of Trump’s past tweets revealed that this is very much part of his traditional response to criticism, especially by those in the Republican party.

When his 2015 announcement speech was panned by Fox News Channel’s Dana Perino, former President George W. Bush’s White House press secretary, Trump suggested that she was a hypocrite who once asked him for a favor:

In July 2015, then-primary-opponent and former Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) denounced Trump as “a cancer on conservatism” and “a barking carnival act” that contained “a toxic mix of demagoguery, mean-spiritedness and nonsense that will lead the Republican party to perdition if pursued.” Trump shot back at his future Energy Secretary:

Then, in January of 2016, after Iowa anti-LGBTQ activist Bob Vander Plaats endorsed a primary rival and suggested Trump was insufficiently anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ, Trump went after him with a similar claim:

The same week, he reacted to an article in the conservative National Review questioning whether Trump had ever walked with the conservative movement by going after its author:

Trump took the same tact last March, when 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney gave a speech denouncing Trump for his “bullying” along with “the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd third grade theatrics”, responding:

A year ago, after 2008 GOP nominee and Arizona Senator John McCain revoked his support following the revelation that Trump had bragged about sexually assaulting women, the then-presidential candidate did the same thing again:

So, Trump’s claim about Corker’s begging is just the latest in a long pattern.

It is unclear why Trump put “begged” in quotation marks, but he tends to use them around claims that could be deemed false.

Indeed, the right-leaning Washington Examiner reported on Sunday that in fact it had been Trump who called Corker to ask him to reconsider his decision not to seek re-election and offered an endorsement. Given that Trump’s poll numbers in Tennessee are sagging and that his endorsement of Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL) had no discernible effect in Strange’s unsuccessful attempt to win renomination last month, it is unclear why a Trump endorsement would be of much value to Corker even if he wanted to run again.

Corker said Sunday evening that Trump is treating the presidency like his former NBC “reality show,” warning that his reckless threats could put the nation “on the path to World War III.”