Texas Sen. John Cornyn described his relationship with President Donald Trump as a kind of bad marriage in a new interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Cornyn has often voted in support of the president's ideas in the United States Senate, but his disagreed with him at times. Like many GOP senators up for re-election this fall, Cornyn is now distancing himself from Trump and highlighting the differences in their politics.
Cornyn told reporters his relationship with Trump is "maybe like a lot of women who get married and think they're going to change their spouse, and that doesn’t usually work out very well." He went on: "I think what we found is that we’re not going to change President Trump. He is who he is. You either love him or hate him, and there's not much in between. What I tried to do is not get into public confrontations and fights with him because, as I've observed, those usually don’t end too well."
Cornyn also hinted that he has a strong rapport with the president, saying he prefers to confront their differences "privately." He implied that he has done this before, not only to get the desired result but to keep any stories about their disagreements out of the headlines.
"I have found that has allowed me to be much more effective, I believe, than to satisfy those who say I ought to call him out or get into a public fight with him," Cornyn said. By contrast, he pointed out former Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, who retired in 2018 following a highly-publicized spat with the president.
Cornyn is one of several prominent Republican senators now hastily distancing themselves from Trump as the 2020 presidential election approaches. Others, including Lindsey Graham and Ben Sasse, have done the some — particularly if they are up for re-election this year. Even Senate Majority Mitch McConnell has begun highlighting his differences from the president, refusing to accept his stimulus check proposal.
"I've worked hard to develop a good relationship with him ... [but] there are obviously a lot of places where he and I differ," Sasse told The Washington Examiner last week. "The way he kisses dictators' butts ... The way he treats women and spends like a drunken sailor. He mocks evangelicals behind closed doors. His family has treated the presidency like a business opportunity. He's flirted with white supremacists."
One report by NBC News suggests that these senators might be trying to distance themselves from Trump due to the coronavirus pandemic, which is a key issue in several typically Republican-voting states. Millions of absentee votes have already been cast, but the election itself is on Tuesday, Nov. 3.