Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., welcomed new sanctions against Venezuela from the Trump administration on Friday, despite his ongoing public spat with Trump on Twitter.
"These carefully calibrated sanctions send a strong signal to the Maduro regime while still allowing for much needed humanitarian assistance," Corker said Friday. "I look forward to working with them to examine additional policy options in the near future."
Corker's statement suggests that Congress might reinforce Trump's crackdown with a broader sanctions package. The crisis has produced rare bipartisan approval of the president's foreign policy decisions, where other sanctions bills have passed in this face of Trump's objections and contributed to intra-party feuding between lawmakers and the White House.
"Venezuela is a country with great unrealized potential, and its people deserve far better than the current state of affairs, which was brought on by gross economic mismanagement that has inflicted shortages, hyperinflation and unemployment on ordinary Venezuelans," Corker emphasized. "I appreciated the detailed briefing I received from Vice President Pence this morning and applaud the Trump administration for standing with the Venezuelan people."
That statement followed a rebuke from Trump, who had learned that Corker questioned the "competency" and "stability" of the White House over the last several months.
"Strange statement by Bob Corker considering that he is constantly asking me whether or not he should run again in '18," Trump tweeted Friday morning. "Tennessee not happy!"
Corker criticized the White House last week in response to Trump's various statements about the violence at a neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville.
"I do think there need to be some radical changes. The president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful. And we need for him to be successful," Corker told reporters. "Our nation needs for him to be successful. It doesn't matter whether you're a Republican or Democrat. We need for our president — the world needs for our president — to be successful."
Trump's rebuke follows a pattern of targeting Republicans who have crossed him with political payback. A super PAC aligned with the Trump team ran ads against Sen. Dean Heller, who faces a difficult re-election bid in Nevada. And he has hit Sen. Jeff Flake repeatedly as the Arizona Republican looks to fend off a primary challenge and hold the seat in what is expected to be a competitive general election.
"It's clear that the end game is for Congress to do its job and actually pass legislation," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters at the press briefing Friday. "I think the American people are very frustrated with Congress's lack of action, and for years they've been all talk and no action. And we're looking for them to step up at this point."