FRANKLIN, Tenn. — U.S. Sen. Bob Corker took issue today with GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump's assertions that President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are "the founders" of ISIS.
"To say that an elected official in our country founded a terrorist organization like ISIS is taking the facts that took place in 2011 and carrying that far too far," the Chattanooga Republican told reporters following a speech here to the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation.
Corker earlier noted that Obama and Democratic nominee and former Secretary of State Clinton had made a "number of decisions" in 2011 that helped fuel the rise of the Islamic State, such as failing to take action in the Syrian civil war, as well as providing "no follow up" in Libya, where, he said, the government was "decapitated."
"That certainly created some conditions for ISIS to flourish," said Corker, who is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Corker also strongly criticized Trump's remarks on Tuesday in which he said Second Amendment supporters may be able to stop Clinton from naming Supreme Court justices who could weaken gun rights.
Some interpreted the remarks as a threat to Clinton. Trump strongly denied that, but a number of Republican officials cringed.
"I think that those type of comments had no place in our public discourse and was disappointed to hear" them, Corker said.
Nonetheless, Corker, who was under consideration as Trump's running mate before withdrawing his name from consideration, said he continues to back Trump.
"My consistent comment has been that I plan to support the Republican nominee, and that's the same thing I've said for six months," Corker said. "No differentiation on that."
At his campaign rally Tuesday, Trump said "Hillary wants to abolish — essentially abolish the Second Amendment. By the way, if she gets to pick, if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is. I don't know. But I tell you what, that will be a horrible day if Hillary gets to put her judges in. Right now we're tied."