President Donald J. Trump’s former White House strategist told a Value Voters Summit audience in Washington Saturday Sen. Robert P. Corker (R.-Tenn.) is the perfect example of an what is wrong in the Republican establishment.
“Bob Corker? You know? A real piece of work,” said Stephen K. Bannon, who returned to Breitbart News as the executive chairman in August.
Bannon said Corker quit because he just saw the exit polls from the Sept. 26 GOP primary runoff in Alabama.
Exit polls showed that Alabama Republicans were hostile to Senate Majority Leader A. Mitchell “Mitch” McConnell (R.-Ky.) and the rest of the GOP establishment, he said.
“This is a guy who has about $6 million bank or there abouts, the chairman of Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the most prestigious on Capitol Hill and the one you can raise the most money on, besides the banking committee, in a state President Trump won by 22 points or some outrageous number–he didn’t have an opponent, there’s no opponent, and according to him–President Trump disagrees with this–according to him, President Trump said he’d endorse him,” he said.
“Money, prestige, no opponent and endorsement by the president of the United States–and he quit,” he said.
Corker’s reelection victory in the 2018 midterms seemed like an easy win, but with all his advantages, he decided to return to private life without a fight, which was another victory for the nationalist-populist movement, said the former Navy officer.
The organizing power of grassroots activists, with a passion for their candidates, knocking on doors is what scares the Republican establishment, he said.
In the new nationalist-populist environment, these activists have turned having large sums of campaign money into a burden for establishment Republican candidates, Bannon said.
After Corker withdrew from his reelection plans and criticized the president, no member of the GOP establishment stood up to defend Trump, he said.
“Corker has trashed the commander-in-chief of our armed forces–while we have young men and women in harm’s way–right?–he said he’s leading us to World War III, that he is not stable, that people had to keep him moderated,” he said.
The former investment banker and Hollywood producer said people have questioned why he would target Republican incumbents, such as Wyoming’s Sen. John A. Barrasso III, Nebraska’s Sen. Debra S. Fischer or Nevada’s Sen. Dean Heller–senators who have not made waves–and the answer can be seen in their reaction to Corker’s comments about Trump.
Bannon said the days when this lack of support for the president is over.
Never before has such a senior senator ridiculed and mocked the president in wartime, he said.
“No one can run and hide on this,” he said.
Then, gesturing to the audience: “These people are coming for you.”