Politics

Retiring Flake, Corker Acting ‘Hurt’ and ‘Wounded,’ Trump Says

President says lunch with the rest of GOP senators was a ‘love fest’

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., seated left, talks to Foreign Relations Chairman Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., standing center, during a 2015 hearing. Both are retiring and have criticized President Donald Trump. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated at 8:43 a.m. | President Donald Trump tried to isolate two retiring Republican senators on Wednesday, tweeting they are acting “hurt & wounded” while the rest of the caucus had a “love fest” with him on Tuesday.

The day after Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona shocked Washington by announcing he will not seek reelection, Trump took to Twitter to say the reason he and also-retiring Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee are leaving Congress is “very simple, they had zero chance of being elected.”

He then took his war of words with the two down a personal path, writing both “Now act so hurt & wounded!”

In the Wednesday morning tweet series, Trump also described the scene inside a Capitol room where he addressed GOP senators on Tuesday.

Other than the two retiring senators, the president called the lunch meeting “a love fest” that included “standing ovations and great ideas for USA!”

In a third tweet posted about an hour after those two, the president hit Flake for his low approval rating in Arizona (most polls have that figure below 20 percent), and questioned the senator’s claim that some of his colleagues are beginning to speak out about Trump.

“Really, they just gave me a standing O!” the president tweeted.

After that closed-door strategy meeting, senators described it as one part Trump-led pep rally and another part question-and-answer session with the president. They discussed a GOP tax overhaul push, immigration, health care, the next Federal Reserve chair, and other issues, senators said.

McCain: ‘I Have Seen Jeff Flake Stand Up For What He Believes In’

They described Trump as “upbeat” and “positive,” and Corker said he was not called out by Trump as he ate his lunch and the president spoke.

Trump and Corker spent most of Tuesday morning trading barbs as their feud hit a new level. Corker criticized the president on the “Today Show,” and the president fired back on Twitter. When Corker kept it going when CNN caught up with him in a hallway, Trump again fired off tweets laying into the former Chattanooga mayor.

But GOP senators insisted following the meeting the war of words is not distracting them from doing their work.

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