CNN reporter Manu Raju's hallway interview further inflames Corker-Trump feud

CNN's Dana Bash saved the world many thousands of words Tuesday morning by neatly summarizing the handiwork of colleague Manu Raju in an otherwise tranquil Capitol Hill hallway.

"Holy #%^," she tweeted. "Happening now. Incredible @mkraju intv right now w @BobCorker who all but called @realDonaldTrump a liar and regrets supporting him"

Ah, yes. Reporter Raju executed a daily journalism ritual of trying to get a quote or two out of an elected official ambling down a Capitol Hill hall. The prospect is one reason the Hill is rather more fun professionally than laboring at the button-down, press-wary White House or most federal agencies. People do talk.

And talk did Corker, who's been feuding with Trump on various matters and has been the target of gratuitous Trump tweets. Several new ones had surfaced this morning even before Raju politely positioned his microphone near the moderate Tennessee Republican whose expertise includes international affairs and who'll leave the Senate after his second term ends next year.

Raju
Manu Raju

"Much of what he says is untrue," said Corker. "I don't know why he lowers himself to such a low, low standard ... and debases the country in the way he does. ... We don't do tweets like that. The president has great difficulty with the truth on many issues."

If there was any doubt where Corker is coming from —  and, unencumbered by any re-election campaign, he is surely channeling the views of others in the Republican Senate caucus — he said that Trump has "proven himself unable to rise to the occasion."

"I have intervened, had a private dinner, been with him on multiple occasions to try to create some aspirational approach to the way he conducts himself. But I don't think that's possible. And he's obviously not going to rise to the occasion as president."

Raju then turned de facto civics instructor and early education consultant by asking the senator if the president of the United States is a "role model for kids."

"No," said Corker.

There was more, and it was all being tweeted about.

Almost all of Trump's post-breakfast tweets had derided Corker — in part for expressing unease with Trump's latest tax proposal and not backing Trump's sort-of attempt to unravel the Iran nuclear deal. One of them declared:

But then came the Raju interview. And, whether he was watching live or not (and Las Vegas oddsmakers wouldn't bet heavily against the prospect), Trump soon tweeted this during the interview:

There were only three guarantees that arose from the multi-platform pissing match.

First, it would be interesting to be in the room Tuesday when Trump is scheduled to lunch with Corker and the other Senate Republicans.

Second, cable news bookers would be exhausting Corker's press spokesmen as they sought appearances. 

Third, Trump would be back tweeting at his new "lightweight" critic, with his own cadre of press acolytes, like Sean Hannity of Fox, sure to support him. And sure enough ...

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    James Warren

    New York City native, graduate of Collegiate School, Amherst College and Roosevelt University. Married to Cornelia Grumman, dad of Blair and Eliot. National columnist, U.S. News & World Report. Former managing editor and Washington Bureau Chief, Chicago Tribune.

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