WASHINGTON - Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, who has played golf and had dinner with President Barack Obama and was one of the few Republicans strongly behind the plan to bomb Syria in retaliation for gassing its civilians, told CNN that the president "seems to be very uncomfortable being commander in chief of this nation."
Acknowledging he "probably shouldn't be saying everything I'm saying," Corker went on to say Obama is "a diminished figure on Capitol Hill" and that his administration has hurt American credibility on Syria, which he called "a complete muddlement."
Corker said he expected, after meeting with Obama on Tuesday, that the president would make a stronger case for attacking Syria for its use of chemical weapons. He said he sent an email message White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough following Obama's Tuesday night prime time address to the nation saying he "couldn't be more disappointed" with the speech.
Corker has also said that he supports the pause to consider the diplomatic initiative Russia has put forward to have Syria surrender its chemical stockpile to an international body and hopes the diplomatic effort succeeds. Corker, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is a co-author of the Senate resolution authorizing a limited use of force in Syria.
Chattanooga Republican played a round of golf with Obama in May just weeks after being singled out for dinner with the president at a restaurant near the White House and had been seen as an ally on some major issues. He had dinner again Sunfday night with Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden.
In the interview with CNN's Dana Bash on Wednesday afternoon, Corker said the president is "very good in an interpersonal setting" but "he just cannot follow through...He cannot speak to the nation as a commander in chief. He cannot speak to the world as a commander in chief. He just cannot do it, and I don't know what it is."