Corker: Trump rebuke was duty as respectable public official

COLUMBIA, Tenn. (AP) - U.S. Sen. Bob Corker said Friday that that it was his duty as a "respectable public official" to sharply criticize Donald Trump after the president's defense of a white nationalist rally in Virginia that left an anti-racist protester dead.

The Tennessee Republican and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee earlier this week questioned whether Trump had the stability or competence to become a successful president.

"If I'm going be a respectable public official, it had to be spoken to," Corker said. "I'm an American first."

The remark drew applause at a luncheon hosted by the Kiwanis and Rotary clubs in Columbia.

Corker's rebuke came after Trump insisted that "there is blame on both sides" for the violent clashes in Virginia and "there were very fine people on both sides."