Bob Corker: Everything you need to know about the senator speaking out about Trump

The chair of the Foreign Relations Committee has clashed with President Trump.

October 9, 2017, 2:11 PM

— -- Name: Robert "Bob" Phillips Corker Jr.

Party: Republican

Date of Birth: August 24, 1952

Age: 63

What he does now: U.S. senator from Tennessee, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

What he used to do: According to The Associated Press, Corker worked as a construction superintendent before starting his own construction company, Bencor. He sold the construction arm of his company in 1990 as he began acquiring real estate. He purchased in 1999 two of the largest real estate companies in Chattanooga, making him the largest private landowner in Hamilton County. He sold most of his properties early in 2006. Corker founded the nonprofit Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprises, which helps families obtain low-interest loans. He was appointed commissioner in 1995 of the Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration, and he was elected Chattanooga mayor in 2001. Corker was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006.

Hometown: Chattanooga, Tennessee (although he was born in Orangeburg, South Carolina)

Family tree: Corker and his wife of 29 years, Elizabeth, have two daughters, Emily and Julia. When it was revealed that Corker failed to disclose millions of dollars in shares in a small Tennessee real estate firm, a pair of the purchases were made in his daughters’ names, and he bought stock in the company, CBL, 25 times using accounts in his wife and daughters’ names, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Key life/career moments:

  • Corker started his own construction company with $8,000 in 1978. The firm, Bencor, began to land large contracts in the Chattanooga area and was operating in 18 states by the mid-1980s. Corker sold the company in 1990 and acquired two real estate companies in 1999. He was inducted into the University of Chattanooga’s Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame in 2005.
  • Corker was the only Republican to win election to the U.S. Senate in 2006.
  • His race against Democrat Harold Ford came under scrutiny after the Republican National Committee released an ad that critics claimed was racially tinged. It featured a white woman with blond hair and bare shoulders looking suggestively into the camera and saying, "Harold, call me." Corker’s campaign called the ad "tacky" and said they were pleased when it was taken off the air.
  • In 2010, he made headlines for accusing President Obama of "duplicity" during a private lunch meeting at the Capitol along with his fellow Republican senators, accusing him of undermining his efforts to craft a bipartisan financial regulation bill. "I told him I thought there was a degree of audacity in him even showing up today after what happened with financial regulation," he said. "I just wanted him to tell me how, when he wakes up in the morning, comes over to a luncheon like ours today, how does he reconcile that duplicity?"
  • Corker burnished his bipartisan credentials with a bill that allowed both houses of Congress to vote for resolutions either approving or disapproving the Iran nuclear agreement. But a September 2015 resolution of disapproval vote in the Senate failed to advance. The House also voted, but those votes were meaningless because President Obama had enough support to ensure the deal would survive.
  • What you might not know about him:

  • A millionaire, Corker now donates his entire Senate paycheck to charity
  • He was named one of Time Magazine's "100 Most Influential People" of 2015, with his fellow Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander writing a profile calling him "the pragmatist of Congress." "He is a conservative who prizes results over speeches. He is unafraid to challenge President [Barack] Obama and unafraid to work with him.... If he is not president himself, Corker is an obvious choice for Secretary of State or Treasury," Alexander wrote.
  • His campaign biography said he took a job picking trash at age 13 and through his teen years bagged ice, worked at Western Auto and "put in long hours as a construction laborer."
  • The campaign website also says he was inspired to begin his non-profit, Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise, after a mission trip with his church to Haiti in his late 20s.
  • What he has said about Trump:

  • Dec. 8, 2015, Commercial Appeal: "These recent comments are completely counter to the values and principles of our great nation." [on Muslim ban]
  • May 6, 2016 USA Today: "I think he is well aware now that he has to move into a period of really laying out more substantial policies and certainly as he evolves, to the extent we can be helpful and flesh those out, we are more than glad to do so... What I hear in what he's saying ... is more of a George H.W. Bush view of the world. I hear him embracing more of a James Baker view of the world, and a larger degree of realism is making its way into his thinking, and I very much appreciate that."
  • May 23, 2016 CNN: "The fact that he challenging some of the status quo, it is causing these countries to think a little bit differently about the U.S. I say that in a positive way."
  • June 5, 2016 ABC: "I think that he's going to have to change. I’m not talking about him necessarily changing his views, but I think that he’s moving into a different phase, he's talking to the right people.” When asked whether he would help facilitate Trump's proposal to temporarily ban Muslim immigrants, Corker said, as he has before, "I would not support it." Corker also said that he did not "condone" Trump's comments about U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel being unfit to hear a case against Trump University because of his Mexican heritage."
  • Oct. 9, 2016: “These comments are obviously very inappropriate and offensive and his apology was absolutely necessary." [on Trump's 2005 comments about women captured in a behind-the-scenes "Access Hollywood" video]
  • May 2, 2017 ABC: "I'm not sure that sometimes the president takes into account what his words mean in other places around the world," said Corker about Trump's invitation to Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte to visit the White House. "I think the president sometimes is being conversational and trying to show an openness and I think as time goes on he'll understand the gravity of actually having people come to the White House like that… [Duterte] is certainly not on the list of people that I would want to be one of the first people to come visit."
  • Aug. 17, 2017 ABC News: "The president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate that he needs to be successful," said Corker about Trump in the aftermath of a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
  • Oct. 9, 2017 Twitter: "It's a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.".
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