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- President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he received “multiple standing ovations” after his working lunch with Senate Republicans. The claim comes as Trump faces increased criticism from several GOP senators, including Sens. Bob Corker, Jeff Flake, and John McCain. Corker said Trump will be remembered for “the debasement of our nation,” and Flake said he would not seek reelection, citing his dissatisfaction with Trump as the reason.
President Donald Trump on Tuesday hailed his working lunch with congressional Republicans as a success, tweeting that it was “so nice being with Republican Senators today.”
“Multiple standing ovations!” he added. “Most are great people who want big Tax Cuts and success for U.S.”
Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana told reporters earlier that the caucus gave Trump “three standing ovations.”
“We appreciated him being there, and we had meatloaf,” Kennedy said.
Trump’s tweet came as he faced off against several Senate Republicans who have ramped up their criticism of him in recent days.
Sen. Bob Corker, who will retire at the end of his current term, has been increasingly critical of the president and stood by his assessment when he appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Tuesday.
“Bob Corker, who helped President O give us the bad Iran Deal & couldn’t get elected dog catcher in Tennessee, is now fighting Tax Cuts,” Trump fired back, in response to Corker’s comments.
“Corker dropped out of the race in Tennessee when I refused to endorse him, and now is only negative on anything Trump. Look at his record!” he added.
Corker hit back on Twitter, writing: “Same untruths from an utterly untruthful president. #AlertTheDaycareStaff.”
The president tweeted later Tuesday morning, “Isn’t it sad that lightweight Senator Bob Corker, who couldn’t get re-elected in the Great State of Tennessee, will now fight Tax Cuts plus!”
Trump also drew criticism from Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, who announced Tuesday that he would not seek reelection at the end of his term.
“Here’s the bottom line: The path that I would have to travel to get the Republican nomination is a path I’m not willing to take, and that I can’t in good conscience take,” Flake told The Arizona Republic.
In a blistering 17-minute speech slamming the president, Flake called Trump “reckless, outrageous, and undignified.” He also lambasted his fellow party members who continued to support Trump.
“When the next generation asks us, ‘Why didn’t you do something? Why didn’t you speak up?’ What are we going to say?” Flake asked. “Mr. President, I rise today to say enough.”
Flake, who has frequently butted heads with Trump in the past, received standing ovations from Democratic and Republican senators after his speech.
Fellow Arizona Sen. John McCain praised Flake afterward, saying, “I have seen Jeff Flake stand up for what he believes in knowing full well that there would be a political price to pay.”
McCain has also increased his criticism of the administration in recent months.
Last week, he warned that the US is turning toward “half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems.”
McCain also chastised Trump on Monday over his feud with a Gold Star widow.
“We should not be fighting about a brave American who lost his life serving his country. That should not be the topic of discussion in America today,” he said on ABC’s “The View.”
Peter Jacobs and Eliza Relman contributed reporting.