Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said Monday that the Trump administration has given him "no reason to believe" that it would encourage a primary challenge against him if he does seek re-election in 2018.
Corker made the remark after announcing that he is undecided on running for re-election. The lawmaker also criticized President Trump's response to a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. in August.
"I've always expected that if I run, that I'll have a primary. I have no indications whatsoever that the administration would encourage that ... We see no evidence of it," Corker told reporters in the Capitol Monday.
"I have no reason to believe the administration would encourage a primary. None," he added later on, repeating the line multiple times.
Corker made these comments after it was reported that Steve Bannon, the former White House chief strategist and current Breitbart News chairman, could target Corker as part of his plan to take out a handful of Republican incumbents who've been critical of Trump, including Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Dean Heller, R-Nev.
"I've had no conversations with Bannon about it, and I don't know that he's actually specifically — I hear sources say that, but I don't think I've ever heard him say that," Corker said.
Corker made headlines in August when in the aftermath of Charlottesville he questioned Trump's "stability" and "competence."
"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," Corker said. "He has not demonstrated that he understands what has made this nation great and what it is today, and he's got to demonstrate the characteristics of a president who understands that."
Trump responded soon after, calling it a "strange statement" by Corker, who was considered for vice president and secretary of state, adding that Tennesseans are "not happy!"
However, the Tennessee Republican maintained that he will continue to criticize the administration as he sees fit.
"I call them like I see them," Corker said. "I'm not going to change who I am to run an election or not run an election."
Corker's indecision follows four retirements by key House members in potential swing districts ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. He dismissed the idea he was frustated with the Senate's inability to pass legislation, pointing to his perch as chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
"I have a lot of impact without passing legislation. I can influence things. This is more about just what I believe to be the right thing to do," Corker said. "The environment ebbs and flows so much around here. You can go through a drought for a couple of years, and then all of the sudden things break loose and positive things happen ... It has nothing to do with the environment, and it has nothing to do with any of the other questions that have been asked about the conditions."
Corker also declined to lay out a timeline for a decision.