Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker, who has been trading barbs with the president, is now hitting President Trump for his “castration” of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
The Tennessee Republican told the Washington Post that it’s the “castration” of Tillerson “that I am most exercised about.”
Corker said Trump undermined Tillerson's diplomatic efforts with repeated public statements denigrating the secretary of state.
The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee said such comments will lead to a situation where Trump will only have a “binary choice” of war or a North Korea and Iran that could threaten the United States with nuclear weapons.
“You cannot publicly castrate your own secretary of state without giving yourself that binary choice,” Corker told the Washington Post.
Trump last week told reporters he wished Tillerson would be “tougher.”
"You cannot publicly castrate your own secretary of state"
“We have a very good relationship,” Trump told reporters. “We disagree on a couple of things. Sometimes I'd like him to be a little bit tougher. But other than that, we have a very good relationship.”
Trump also told reporters recently that he and Tillerson have "a little bit of a different attitude on North Korea than other people might have” but “ultimately my attitude is the one that matters."
Speaking last month in China, which wants Washington to resume a full dialogue with Pyongyang, Tillerson fueled speculation of a new diplomatic effort, acknowledging open channels of communications between the two countries.
But then Trump appeared to undermine his efforts.
"I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man," Trump tweeted, once again deploying his pet name for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. "Save your energy Rex, we'll do what has to be done!"
Corker’s comments follow a week of the Republican, who recently announced he won’t run for re-election, ramping up his criticism of the president.
After the president accused Corker of lacking the guts to run for re-election last weekend, Corker responded: "It's a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.