President Trump Called for Party Unity, Then Attacked a Republican Senator

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President Trump assured members of his own party that he was a “Republican, inside-out and backwards” on a recent conference call, urging party unity as Congress moves onto tax legislation.

Then, just hours before he was set to meet with GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill Tuesday, he went on a Twitter spree attacking Republican Sen. Bob Corker, calling him “liddle,” a “lightweight,” and “incompetent;” arguing he “couldn’t get elected dog catcher in Tennessee;” and falsely blaming him for the Iran nuclear deal.

The reason for this tweet-tirade? Earlier in the morning Corker had said the White House should “step aside” and let Congress handle tax reform.

As with the earlier back-and-forth between the two Republicans, Trump’s reaction pretty much proved Corker’s point. If Trump had logged off Twitter and avoided Capitol Hill Tuesday, the push for tax legislation would no doubt be in much better shape. Instead, Trump has cast fresh doubt on the effort.

Trump recently said that when somebody says something about him, Twitter allows him to go “bing, bing, bing and I take care of it.” But these bings aren’t helping him.

Iowa abandons Obamacare idea

Iowa is giving up on its plan to reform the Affordable Care Act within its own borders.

The Republican-controlled state had come up with a plan to get a waiver from the federal government to get rid of some of the 2010 health care law’s requirements and create alternatives for Iowans seeking individual health insurance.

But Trump was not a fan of the idea. The Washington Post reported earlier this month that Trump read about the request in a newspaper story and personally called the federal employee considering the waiver to argue that it shouldn’t be granted.

Federal officials didn’t reject the plan, but they failed to approve it in time for the marketplaces to start selling insurance, so Iowa gave up.

Obamacare supporters will see this as another example of the Trump Administration undermining the law in order to build support for overturning it, but Republican officials in Iowa are also going to be upset.

Kid Rock says he was just kidding

Kid Rock says he won’t be running for Senate in 2018, contrary to months of speculation fueled largely by the musician himself.

“F–k no, I’m not running for Senate. Are you kidding me?” Kid Rock — whose real name is Robert Ritchie — said on Howard Stern’s radio show on SiriusXM on Tuesday. “Who couldn’t figure that out? I’m releasing a new album. I’m going on tour too. Are you f——g s——g me?”

A representative for Kid Rock confirmed the decision to TIME.

As the musician himself puts it, the idea of his running for a Senate seat in his home state of Michigan was mostly a joke that brought him attention ahead of the release of his newest album, “Sweet Southern Sugar,” which comes out early next month. The website page on which he suggested he might run now carries promotional material for the album and the tour around it. (His “official” campaign site still exists, but it’s mostly empty except for a picture of the 46-year-old musician sitting next to a stuffed deer.)

While many in the political establishment scoffed at the idea of his running for office, there were those who urged the public not to be too dismissive. Ritchie, whose persona is one of gritty Americana, is popular at home in Michigan, a Rust Belt state that went for Trump in the 2016 presidential election. As Politico reported this summer, Ritchie’s clout in Michigan was large enough for Mitt Romney to actively seek his endorsement in the 2012 presidential election.

“Presuming Kid Rock doesn’t get caught in bed with a little boy, or beat up a woman between now and August 2018, he’s going to win the nomination if he gets in,” Dennis Lennox, a Michigan Republican political consultant, told Politico. “I think there’s no question about that. I think he’s the prohibitive favorite if he gets in.”

Michigan is increasingly a battleground state — one eyed by grassroots conservatives as a potential site of victory in the 2018 midterm elections. Former Trump advisor Stephen K. Bannon, now back at the helm of Breitbart News, has declared a “civil war” on the GOP establishment, and is looking for Republican candidates — such as Roy Moore in Alabama — who could yield upsets next November.

Sources close to Bannon told TIME recently that they were hoping Kid Rock would commit to his Senate race, and that if he did, they would throw their efforts behind him.

Nash Jenkins contributed to this report.

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