‘Typically, to unite people, you have to wish to do so…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) The country would be better off if President Donald Trump faced a strong primary challenger for the 2020 Republican nomination, said “NeverTrump” ex-Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.
“Philosophically, you could look at it and say that it would be a good thing for our country should that occur,” he told Time magazine during the Time 100 Summit on Tuesday.
“If you had a real primary, where you had someone that was really being listened to, and of substance, things that we were talking about—and I could go through a list of them—they would actually be debated in a real way.”
Trump already has an edge in the race, Corker said, and if he faced a weaker opponent, “nobody is going to listen to the debate,” which would mean less substantive debates about Republican policy solutions.
Corker’s comments are similar to former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, who recently announced his own primary bid against Trump.
Weld admitted last week that he had encouraged other prominent Trump critics to run as well.
“It might be harder for the president to duck debates if there were two or three other candidates in the race, so I’ve been encouraging the both of those people,” Weld said. “We all want the same thing, which is an airing of the issues.”
Former Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., a close ally of Corker’s in the Senate until both decided not to seek re-election last year, also ruled out a run while agreeing that a viable primary challenger was needed.
“I do hope that there is a Republican who challenges the president in the primary,” Flake told CBS in January. “I still hope that somebody does, but that somebody won’t be me.”
Corker said Trump has proven himself unable—and unwilling—to bring together the country’s increasingly polarized political factions.
“Typically, to unite people, you have to wish to do so, and I think that currently, the President has not found that to his benefit or to his liking,” Corker said. “Therefore, he purposely seeks to divide.”
Corker admitted, however, that Trump tapped into a large voter base that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.
“This President has an unusually visceral contact with the Republican base as it’s made up today, and the same thing could very well the happen on the Democratic side if [a Democrat] is elected,” he said. “That’s in some ways where the electorate is today, where it has become very tribal in nature.”