WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday his public feud with Senator Bob Corker would not harm his push for a tax code overhaul, hours after piling a new insult on the influential fellow Republican by mocking his physical stature.
Raising new uncertainties about the barely 2-week-old tax plan, Trump also told reporters that adjustments to it were coming within weeks.
It was unclear what he meant. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders later said, “We don’t have any adjustments to make to the framework at this time.”
Asked if his spat with Corker would affect the tax effort, Trump said, “I don’t think so, no.”
The president has engaged in recent days in a risky feud via Twitter with Corker, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and is a leading “deficit hawk” committed to reining in the federal deficit.
Corker has said he will oppose any package of tax changes that adds to the deficit.
His position matters because Republicans control the Senate by a narrow 52-to-48 margin as they push to notch up a first major legislative achievement in a year of controlling the White House and both chambers of Congress.
If Democrats unite against a tax bill, as they did in opposing efforts to repeal Obamacare health legislation, Republicans can afford to lose only two of their own senators to get the tax changes passed.
In his latest tweet on the senator on Tuesday morning, Trump dubbed Corker, reported by U.S. media to be 5 foot 7 inches (1.70 m) tall, “Liddle’ Bob Corker.”
He said Corker had been made to “sound a fool” by the New York Times, “and that’s what I‘m dealing with.”
Corker tweeted over the weekend that the Trump White House was an “adult daycare center” and then said in an interview with the Times that Trump risked setting the country on a “path to World War Three.”
In his remarks in the Oval Office, Trump focused on tax reform, saying it was politically positive and desired by Americans.
“People want to see tax cuts, they want to see major reductions in their taxes, and they want to see tax reform, and that’s what we’re doing,” he said. “And we’ll be adjusting a little bit over the next few weeks to make it even stronger. But I will tell you that it’s become very, very popular.”
Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by James Dalgleish and Frances Kerry