Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee is a mainstream Republican with a reputation for focusing on policy and not speaking out of school. He is pro-business and pro-border wall and served as a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign.
On Monday, Corker said something about President Donald Trump and his White House team that the president should take to heart:
“They are in a downward spiral right now and have got to figure out a way to come to grips with all that’s happening. You know the shame of it is there’s a really good national security team in place; there’s good productive things that are underway through them, and through others. But the chaos that is being created by the lack of discipline is creating an environment that I think – it creates a worrisome environment.”
Corker was reacting to the big news of the day, a Washington Post report that Trump had shared with Russia’s foreign minister and ambassador highly classified information about Islamic State that had come to U.S. intelligence officials via a foreign government with a fragile relationship with America. According to intelligence experts, Trump’s disclosure of “code-word secrets” could allow the Russians to pin down the source of the information.
Early on, Team Trump tried to shoot down the well-sourced story. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, for example, said the story “as reported, is false.”
Then in what has become typical Trumpian fashion, the president undercut his own people by confirming Tuesday on Twitter that he gave the Russians “facts pertaining . . . to terrorism and airline flight safety,” which, he said, “I have the absolute right to do.”
Is this how to run a White House? Is this how to lead a country?
The answer to both questions is an emphatic no. Perhaps, for Trump’s benefit, we should say it in Russian. Nyet.
Unfortunately for the United States and its allies, Trump prefers to rely on his intuition about relationships and strategies instead of heeding the advice of intelligence experts. And that intitution is largely shaped by his gross ignorance of foreign affairs and an extreme vanity that does not allow him to admit such ignorance.
In addition, the president appears intent on winning the approval of Russian strongman Vladimir Putin and other high-ranking Russian officials. If someone were to make a movie of Trump’s first 100-plus days in office, it would be titled “Collaborating with the Enemy.”
When he met in the Oval Office last week with Sergei Lavrov and Sergey Kislyak, Trump banned U.S. journalists while welcoming a photographer for a Russian news agency.
There have been numerous reports the past two weeks that Trump is unhappy with his failure to move forward on many of the promises he made to his voters and that he is thinking about shaking up his West Wing team.
It would be far better if Trump took stock of himself and absorbed the reality that his amateurish forays into foreign policy and intelligence matters are dangerous to the health of the United States and the world.
Understand: It wasn’t a Democrat or maverick Republican Sen. John McCain who said that the White House is in a downward spiral. It was Trump ally Bob Corker. We hope that Trump takes Corker’s analysis seriously.