According to a report in the Washington Post, the White House keeps tabs on Republicans who criticize the president, and that information came in handy when Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) was reconsidering his decision not to run this year.
For two and a half tense weeks, Bob Corker quietly pondered a dramatic reversal: running for reelection to the Senate seat he had forsaken. Inside the White House, there was a loud movement to stop him.
The Post describes a concerted effort by White House staff to convince President Trump to come out against Corker, even showing him information that had been collected on the senator and others who have criticized the president:
Many of President Trump’s political aides made it a priority to ensure that the Tennessean, who has accused the president of “debasing” the country with his “untruths” and “name-calling,” did not reenter the race. So they went straight to the one person with the ability to give Corker a new lease on his political life: Trump himself.
They frequently reminded the president of Corker’s criticism, at times even providing specific examples. They kept folders documenting the attacks from Corker and other Trump detractors. They argued that if Trump backed Corker, all that ugliness would receive renewed national attention.
In the end, Corker decided that he will not run, but the senator would not openly say the decision was influenced by his relationship with the White House.
Later, Corker was in an engaging mood but was determined not to say what had swayed him.
“You know, I haven’t ever said anything about this publicly,” he said. “And I probably never will.”