Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee asserted during an interview that the majority of his GOP colleagues privately believe that President Donald Trump is prone to making dishonest statements. Corker had been an ally and personal friend to the president before they developed a public feud on social media.
On Oct. 9, Corker stated that Trump had intentionally made inaccurate statements on a regular basis.
"I don't know why the president tweets out things that are not true," Corker told The New York Times. "You know he does it. Everyone knows he does it."
The Tennessee senator added that the majority of Senate Republicans privately had reservations about the president.
"The vast majority of our caucus understand what we're dealing with here ... they understand the volatility that we are dealing with and the tremendous amount of work that it takes from people around [Trump] to keep him in the middle of the road," Corker continued.
Corker is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The influential lawmaker had given Trump one of his earliest senate endorsements during the 2016 presidential race and reportedly enjoyed a personal friendship with the president.
On Oct. 8, Trump took to social media to blast Corker and alleged that the Tennessee senator had begged him for an endorsement.
"Senator Bob Corker 'begged' me to endorse him for re-election in Tennessee," Trump tweeted. "I said 'NO' and he dropped out (said he could not win without my endorsement). ... I would fully expect Corker to be a negative voice and stand in the way of our great agenda. Didn't have the guts to run!"
Corker, who is not seeking re-election in 2018, disputed Trump's version of events.
"I think I've had four conversations with him about my re-election ... he encouraged me to run and said he would do a rally and endorse me," Corker said. "And by the way, in none of those cases was I begging him to do something for me. That just wasn't the case."
On Oct. 10, Trump took to social media to assert that Corker had been duped into criticizing him.
"The Failing [New York Times] set Liddle' Bob Corker up by recording his conversation," Trump tweeted. "Was made to sound a fool, and that's what I'm dealing with."
The New York Times responded to Trump's tweet by releasing an audio recording of Corker's interview. The Tennessee senator had asked the journalist to record their conversation and said his staff was recording as well.
"I know they're recording it, and I hope you are, too," Corker said.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking website PolitiFact has compiled public statements made by Trump since he entered politics. The PolitiFact scorecard found that 17 percent of Trump's statements were true or mostly true, 15 percent were half true and 69 percent of his statements were mostly false or false.