Senate Republicans were flabbergasted on Monday that President Trump would pick a fight with Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a crucial vote on tax cuts and other Trump priorities, while the White House argued that Corker forced Trump's Sunday morning Twitter attack by suggesting that Trump's chief of staff, secretary of state, and defense secretary were the only thing standing between the U.S. and "chaos." Later Sunday, Corker explicitly said that Trump needs managing so he doesn't start "World War III."
Vice President Mike Pence issued a statement Monday decrying the "empty rhetoric and baseless attacks" against Trump, while Kellyanne Conway told Fox News that Corker's tweeted counter-punches were "incredibly irresponsible." But inside the White House, Trump's "flashes of fury" have left his aides "scrambling to manage his outbursts," which have "torched bridges all around him," The Washington Post reports, citing "18 White House officials, outside advisers, and other Trump associates."
Trump's tweet-attack on Corker caught staffers by surprise, but the president has reportedly been fuming about Corker's comments and reports that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called him a "moron," hurt that he hasn't gotten enough credit for handling three major hurricanes, and frustrated with his Cabinet, the Post reports. He is also isolated and feeling penned in by the stricter Oval Office access controls enforced by Chief of Staff John Kelly:
One Trump confidant likened the president to a whistling teapot, saying that when he does not blow off steam, he can turn into a pressure cooker and explode. "I think we are in pressure cooker territory," said this person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk candidly. [The Washington Post]
Given Trump's cryptic comment last week about the "calm before the storm," that's hardly a reassuring metaphor.