Sens. Marco Rubio and Jeff Flake, both of whom have been on the receiving end of some harsh tweets from President Donald Trump, on Monday tried to stay out of Trump’s latest Twitter tirade against Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.
Rubio, a two-term senator from Florida and one of Trump’s 2016 Republican primary rivals, was in Scottsdale to headline a lunch fundraiser for Flake, R-Ariz., another one of Trump’s favorite GOP punching bags who is facing a tough 2018 re-election fight.
“I don’t waste a lot of time thinking about it,” Rubio told The Arizona Republic about the insults traded Sunday by Trump and Corker. “… It’s not unusual for presidents to have differences with members of their own party, particularly in the Senate. I think what’s unusual is it happens in real time in the 21st century because of Twitter and things of that nature.”
Both Rubio and Flake sit on the influential Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which is chaired by Corker, a two-term Republican who has announced his retirement.
Flake, who was once dubbed “a non-factor in (the) Senate” and “toxic” in a tweet by Trump, said he doubted the Trump-Corker rift would have any impact on Foreign Relations Committee business.
“Anybody who knows Chairman Corker knows he speaks his mind, maybe even more so now,” Flake said. “But he knows what he wants the committee to do, and we all have our franchise there, and I think it will be there as it was before.”
Rubio, once dubbed by Trump in a tweet as “Little Marco Rubio, the lightweight no-show Senator from Florida,” agreed that Corker won’t let the feud interfere with the committee. The body has broad jurisdiction over foreign-policy matters, including treaties and authorizations for use of military force, and has oversight on the State Department.
“I don’t believe Senator Corker is going to block something the president wants just because of that,” Rubio said. “He may be against it if he doesn’t agree with it, but it won’t be because of some tweet. That’s just not the way he operates. Quite frankly, it’s not the way most of us operate.”