How Bob Corker And Jeff Flake Could Make Life Difficult For Trump

President Trump could see the next year of his life made extraordinarily difficult by Republican lawmakers who have chosen to retire rather than seek re-election in the frenzied political environment his presidency has helped create.

One such lawmaker, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., has already spent weeks chiding Trump for requiring the supervision levels of an "adult day care." And another, Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., announced his early retirement on Oct. 24 with a speech that called on fellow Republicans to reject the president's behavior and fight an erosion of GOP values.

Republicans who choose not to run again in 2018 could feel more free to speak ill of a president who remains popular in their home states.

Ford O'Connell, a GOP strategist, said the greatest challenge for Trump may not be the insults leveled by retiring Republicans, but the votes of those lawmakers.

"I think the biggest problem could be conceivably whether or not they choose to block tax reform or other legislative items," O'Connell said.

The margin of error for Republicans, with a slim 52-member majority in the Senate, was already too narrow for the GOP's comfort. It took just one Trump critic, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to sink months of work on a healthcare plan that the president pushed aggressively through the House and Senate.

"This is the party of Donald Trump, and some of them just flat-out can't accept that," O'Connell said. "I think they've got to move the ball forward even if they don't like who the quarterback is."

Read more from Sarah Westwood at the Washington Examiner

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Analysis & Political Strategy