Sen. Corker: What Americans See in Donald Trump 'Is a Disrupter'

By Susan Jones | June 6, 2016 | 6:11am EDT
In this photo taken April 5, 2016, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. speaks on Capitol Hill. Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump met with Corker in New York on Monday, May 23, 2016, intensifying speculation that the U.S. senator from Tennessee may be on Trump’s vice presidential shortlist. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

( - Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committe, said Donald Trump is bringing "a degree of realism" and "maturity" back into U.S. foreign policy.

And he said the American people want Trump to be a "disrupter" of the status quo.

"For years, we've had neocons on the Republican side. We've had liberal internationalists on the Democratic side. And I think bringing that maturity back into our foreign policy is something that's important," Corker told ABC's "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos.

"That doesn't mean us being isolationists, but it does mean selective engagement. And we've had some great hearings on this topic. It's bringing a maturity, looking at our U.S. national interests, realizing who our friends are, relationships, things like throwing aside Mubarak so quickly after decades of a relationship and not figuring out a better way for him to be eased out; the thing we did in Libya -- I mean, again, that was one of the most immature excursions."

Corker said he wants to "see good things" for the nation.

"George, I think the thing that has caused people to be tantalized, if you will, to a degree by the Trump candidacy is they realize that the two parties, acting as they are today, will continue to enable each other to go down a path that is really degrading our nation's greatness. It is.

"And what they see in Donald Trump is a disrupter, someone who can change that trajectory."

Corker said it's up to Trump and his campaign to "take advantage of that, to pivot and move in a direction that shows that they have the ability to do that."

Stephanopoulos asked Corker why Trump would make a good commander-in-chief.

"So, look, I think he's at a point where he's at his fingertips now. He has an opportunity to transition," Corker said. " He's talking to people that I respect greatly -- Secretary Baker, Dr. Kissinger are people that two of the most -- the greatest foreign policy experts in our nation, so he's talking to the right people.

"And it's my hope that now that this primary decision -- process is over, it's like moving from the major leagues to the World Series, it's my hope that he's going to transition into that phase.

He has an opportunity to really change the trajectory of our country, and it's my sense that he will take advantage of that. I hope that he will, but we'll have to see."

Earlier in the interview, Corker said he does not "condone" Trump's comment that the judge in the Trump University case cannot be fair to Trump because of the judge's Mexican heritage. (Trump advocates building a wall between the United States and Mexico to keep "bad ones" out of the U.S.)

"Look, I don't condone the comments," Corker said on Sunday. "I think we have to move beyond that, and I think he has a tremendous opportunity to disrupt the direction that Washington is moving in and create tremendous opportunity. And I hope he's going to take advantage of that and I think that he will."

Corker said Trump is "going to have to change" and move "into a different phase."

"And the fact is -- I'm not talking about him necessarily changing his views, but I think that he's now moving into a different phase. He's talking to the right people. My sense is...he's asking all the right questions. He's talking with people all around the country that are experts in this regard. And I think they know that they're at a place where this campaign has to evolve."

Corker said he opposes Trump's call for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country; and while  he supports stronger border security, he refused to get drawn into a debate about Trump's plan to build a wall that Mexico would pay for.

"Well, look, as to how the wall is paid for, that's something that congress certainly will debate," Corker told Stephanopoulos. "My guess is there will be additional debates regarding how the actual security measures will be put in place, but securing our border has been something that people on both sides of the aisle have supported for years. And we need to do that. And it's understandable that it's become an issue because it's lingered for so long.

"We had an opportunity to deal with this years ago. It wasn't dealt with. It needs to be dealt with now. And hopefully we'll move beyond that very quickly."

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