Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) is retiring after 17 years in the Senate after a hard-fought election campaign and a string of failed attempts to repeal and replace President Donald Trump’s health care law.
Corker is retiring following an election loss to his GOP rival, Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander.
Corker, 79, will become the longest-serving Republican in history when the Senate convenes for the 115th Congress.
He also will be the longest serving senator in the chamber’s history when it convenes in January 2021.
Corker won his primary election in February 2018, beating then-Sen. Bob Dole in the Republican primary.
Corker served as an adviser to Trump during the presidential campaign and is the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.
Corker will leave office with a legacy of accomplishment, but also a legacy that has a long way to go.
In the 2016 campaign, Corker defeated former Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) by only 4 percentage points, a stunning loss that left many Democrats and other progressives frustrated that they could not stop Trump’s agenda.
During his time in Congress, Corker won the backing of many Republicans, including some Republicans who had been skeptical of the former chairman of his own party.
The Tennessee Republican is known for his blunt and outspoken criticism of Trump and the GOP’s approach to the ACA.
He has also been a fierce critic of Senate Democrats, calling them “Obamacare for rich people.”
In 2017, he voted to pass the American Health Care Act, a Republican-led effort to replace Obamacare that critics said would have made Americans’ insurance coverage less affordable.
Corker was one of just eight Republican senators to vote against the legislation.
His defeat came despite being one of the Senate’s most popular members and having a high approval rating.
In addition to the 2020 primary defeat, Corker was also defeated in a primary in 2018 by former Rep. Mike Pompeo (R).
In the 2018 midterm elections, Corker had to contend with allegations of corruption involving former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.
In February 2019, the Tennessee Republican announced his retirement, saying, “I have made the difficult decision to take a break from the U.S. Senate to devote more time to my family and my work in private life.”
Corker’s resignation comes as the Senate considers a replacement for Alexander.
The Senate’s health committee is scheduled to hold its first closed-door meeting Thursday to discuss the possibility of replacing Alexander, who will leave his post in January.
The committee will also consider the possibility that Democrats will try to replace Corker, but with a new Republican in the seat.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D) of West Virginia has said he would consider replacing Corker in the 2018 elections, but he is expected to remain on the Senate floor.
Corker’s decision to leave the Senate also comes as a major blow to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D), who was a longtime critic of Corker.
Corker has faced intense criticism from fellow Republicans who said the Tennessee senator should not be in the White House.
Schumer said in February that Corker “should have retired long ago.”
“Bob Corker should be retiring, because he’s too close to the president and too close [to] the president’s agenda,” Schumer said at the time.
Corker also faced criticism for his criticism of the president.
“The president of the United States, in his words, has been a real disaster.
It’s time for Bob Corker to go,” Corker said in January in an interview with The Hill.
“You’re not going to make America great by being in the Oval Office,” Corker added.
Corker also has faced criticism from some of his Democratic colleagues for failing to call Trump to discuss health care after Trump made an offer of help to the Tennessee lawmaker. “
He can’t do that.”
Corker also has faced criticism from some of his Democratic colleagues for failing to call Trump to discuss health care after Trump made an offer of help to the Tennessee lawmaker.
In October 2018, Corker met with Trump in the lobby of the White Street Hotel in New York City, where the president reportedly offered to pay for a visit to the senator’s family.
Corker then reportedly told his staff that Trump’s offer was not a “real offer,” but a “play” on his wife, Karen.
Corker told the Associated Press in September that he did not discuss the offer with Trump or others.
“I said, ‘I’m not going out of my way to call the president because I don’t want him to think we’re negotiating a ransom,'” Corker told The Hill in October.
“We just wanted to talk about the health care issue and I didn’t want to call him out on that.”
The senator also faced controversy over his treatment of the Congressional Black Caucus.
In September, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus called for him to resign.
The group said Corker was “making it very difficult for African Americans” to have a voice in the country.
“In an interview in December, Corker told ABC News that he has spoken