Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker ripped into his party Tuesday for sidestepping a vote on his amendment to roll back U.S. President Donald Trump’s trade authority — by blocking it altogether.
In a passionate speech on the Senate floor, Corker argued that Republicans were blocking his trade proposal because they feared what Trump might do to the party if they upset him ahead of an election.
“95 per cent of the people on this side of the aisle at least intellectually support this amendment. I would bet that. I would bet higher than 95 per cent. A lot of them would vote for it if it came to vote, but no. We might poke the bear!”
Corker, who is retiring at the end of his term, has been working for the past week to get a vote on his amendment that would give Congress the power to reign in the president’s ability to impost tariffs on national security grounds, such as those on Canadian steel and aluminum which were announced this month.
WATCH: Sen. Corker accuses Trump White House of purposely attempting to divide nation
“My gosh, if the president gets upset with us we might not be in the majority,” said Corker. “The president might get upset with us as United States senators if we vote on the Corker amendment so we’re going to do everything we can to block it.”
Corker said he’d talked with the president about the amendment, who tried to persuade him not to pursue it. Republicans across the board have expressed concern about the Trump administration’s recently-announced tariffs, but few of them are willing to potentially undercut the president.
WATCH: Freeland says U.S. tariffs are illegal, unjustifiable and ‘insulting’
The Tennessee senator later told reporters that he’s not giving up the fight.
“I think it’s ridiculous people can’t vote on amendments. Childish! Childish!”
Trump announced this month that his administration would be imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum from allies like Canada, Mexico and Europe on the basis of national security. Corker’s amendment would limit Trump’s ability to impose tariffs on national security grounds — a move which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has repeatedly called “insulting.”
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