WASHINGTON – Ivanka Trump came to talk policy, not broker peace.Donald Trump stands next to Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., during a campaign event at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts on July 5, 2016, in Raleigh, N.C. Sara D. Davis, Getty Images
But when the first daughter sat down with Sen. Bob Corker at the Capitol early last November, the conversation inevitably turned to the bitter war of words raging for weeks between the Tennessee Republican and President Trump.
It’s time to move on, Ivanka Trump candidly told the senator, according to several people familiar with the meeting who were not authorized to publicly discuss it. The two men had gotten to know each other quite well since their first meeting a year and a half earlier in New York and had, until now, forged a good working relationship. It would be a shame, the president’s daughter said, if they could not move past the ugliness of the past few weeks.
Ivanka Trump’s role as unofficial ombudsman helped repair the frayed relationship between Trump and Corker – a détente of sorts that could be critically important for the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as he considers reversing his decision to retire and run instead for a third term later this year.
“It’s not rocket science,” said Tom Ingram, a veteran political strategist who was one of Corker’s advisers during his first Senate campaign. “Conventional wisdom is if you’re running for the Senate in Tennessee, you don’t want the president against you.”
Despite their turbulent past, the relationship between Corker and Trump remains cordial, Ingram said, “and I would expect it to be because they are both smart adults. They had their dust-up. The dust has settled. And they have moved on.”
Last fall, Trump said Corker was retiring because he knew he would lose his re-election race; Corker questioned Trump's competence and suggested the White House had become an "adult day care center" for Trump.
Corker said it’s understandable that people might mistakenly think he and Trump are no longer speaking. But, “he’s very accessible,” the senator said. “We talked on the phone quite often and continue to do that now.”After Ivanka Trump voiced her support of Oprah's Golden Globes speech, Twitter was quick to react. MICHAEL REYNOLDS, EPA-EFE
Corker’s mending of fences with Trump was not born out of political calculation. The two had already begun to make peace late last year – long before Corker started to reconsider his decision to retire. Corker hasn’t decided if he’ll get back in the race, but his spokeswoman says he is listening to Republicans who are urging him to run.
Nor was the overture from Ivanka Trump the sole impetus for the truce between the senator and the commander-in-chief. Corker and the first daughter had forged their own bond by working together on policies like the senator’s proposal to end human trafficking. But even if she hadn’t urged him and the president to make up, “we would have picked right back up where we left off,” Corker said.
“Look,” he said, “my job is to do what’s best for our state and country, and that includes continuing to work with people that are shaping policy. And that definitely includes the president of the United States.”
By all accounts, Corker and Trump hit it off at the beginning. They met for the first time in May 2016, when Corker traveled to New York for a private, hour-long meeting with then-candidate Trump. The introduction went so well that Corker would end up on the list of potential candidates as Trump’s vice president and secretary of state.
But by late last summer, the relationship was clearly on the rocks. Corker didn’t mince words last August when, responding to Trump’s handling of racially motivated protests in Charlottesville, Va., he said Trump had not been able to demonstrate "the stability, nor some of the competence” that he needed to be successful.
By October, he and Trump were in an all-out war. Trump took to Twitter and mocked the senator as “Liddle Bob Corker,” claimed he couldn’t get elected dog catcher and argued that Corker had begged for his endorsement and decided not to seek re-election when he didn’t get it.
Corker returned fire, calling the White House “an adult day care center” and warning that Trump’s actions could put the country on the path to World War III. What’s more, Corker said, he didn’t ask for Trump’s endorsement. Trump offered it willingly.
Yet even as the senator and the president knifed each other publicly, Corker’s staff and the Trump administration never cut off contact, according to people familiar with their relationship.
Within weeks, Corker and Trump also would bond again, this time over tax reform.
When Corker decided in December to vote against a Republican plan to reform the nation’s tax system, he called Trump to give him a heads-up.
Corker called again several other times during the tax debate – once to tell Trump that he had decided to support a revised version of the proposal. On another call, they commiserated over one of Trump’s favorite topics: “Fake news.”
A published report claimed Corker had changed his mind and voted for the tax bill after a provision was added that would benefit him financially. Corker insisted he didn’t even know about the provision and told Trump the negative publicity had given him “newfound empathy” for Trump and his own battles with the press.
“I’ve never, ever in my life used the word ‘fake news’ until today,” Corker said in an interview with FOX News. But, “I actually understand what it is the president has been dealing with.”
Their relationship showed further signs of healing in January, when Trump invited Corker and other members of the Tennessee congressional delegation to accompany him aboard Air Force One to Nashville, where he would be speaking at a convention of farmers and ranchers. During the flight, Corker and Trump met and talked about Iran and the North American Free Trade Agreement.
In January, Corker spoke publicly in favorable terms about his relationship with Trump.
“The president and I haven’t always seen eye to eye,” he conceded during a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
But in a far cry from his harsh criticisms just a few months earlier, Corker suggested that Trump’s “unpredictability” had at times been an asset, particularly in negotiations on the Iran nuclear deal.
“Our European allies are far more interested in talking with us about what we might do as a result of the fact that we have a person who they know is somewhat unpredictable,” he said.
It doesn’t always pay off, Corker said, but Trump’s rhetoric “speaks to the people of our country.”
Source : http://www.wgrz.com/article/news/nation-now/with-help-from-ivanka-bob-corker-and-president-trump-are-friends-again/465-483f0e99-fe0c-4ed4-917d-1f7f6e6c6e37