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Senator Bob Corker slams Trump as ‘utterly untruthful’

US Senator Bob Corker at the Capitol on Tuesday, October 24, 2017. (Photo by The New York Times)

The ongoing public dispute between US President Donald Trump and top Republican Senator Bob Corker has escalated after Trump attacked Corker for his skepticism over a $1.5 trillion tax cut and Corker responding by slamming the Republican president as an "utterly untruthful" leader who "debases" his country.

Corker, who represents the state of Tennessee and chairs the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has emerged as an outspoken critic of the president.

"Bob Corker, who helped President O[bama] give us the bad Iran Deal & couldn't get elected dog catcher in Tennessee, is now fighting Tax Cuts," Trump tweeted Tuesday.

Corker, who has announced he is not seeking re-election next year, responded with a hard-hitting tweet of his own: "Same untruths from an utterly untruthful president."

"I don't know why he lowers himself to such a low, low standard and debases our country in the way that he does, but he does," Corker later told CNN.

"It's unfortunate that our nation finds itself in this place," he said, expressing regret for having supported Trump's presidential bid, and saying he would not vote for him again.

"He has proven himself unable to rise to the occasion" as president, Corker said in the interview conducted in a Senate hallway.

The fiery spat erupted just hours before Trump was due to attend a meeting with Senate Republicans in Congress to discuss a tax overhaul measure that is expected to be released as soon as next week.

After Corker's angry reply, Trump went on to brand him a "lightweight" and the "incompetent" foreign relations chairman who "doesn't have a clue."

The stinging verbal blows mark the latest round of a public feud between the president and one of his party's most important lawmakers in Congress, a calculated senator who has immense influence over foreign policy issues as well as taxes.

Earlier this month, Corker condemned Trump for undermining Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, saying the president’s public statements on foreign policy "castrate" his top diplomat and creates "binary" scenarios for the US on the world stage.

Corker also criticized Trump’s response to the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August, saying his lack of "stability and competence" threatens the country.

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