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In renewed Twitter war, Corker calls Trump 'utterly untruthful president'

Corker AP 3.jpg
FILE- In this Friday, Oct. 11, 2013, file photo, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington about the government stalemate. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, file)

WASHINGTON (AP/Sinclair Broadcast Group) - Sen. Bob Corker says the White House should "step aside" and let Congress' tax-writing committees figure out how to pay for the $1 trillion tax cut President Donald Trump wants to sign by the end of the year.

The Tennessee Republican tells NBC's "Today" Tuesday that the tough, "spinach part" of the process is looming and suggests that recent White House decisions to take proposals off the table aren't helping. On Monday, Trump ruled out changes to popular 401(k) retirement plans to help pay for the tax cut.

Corker, who has announced plans to retire and has been critical of Trump, says he hopes the White House will let the committees do their work in a "normal process."

The president quickly fired back on Twitter Tuesday morning, saying: "Bob Corker, who helped President O give us the bad Iran Deal & couldn't get elected dog catcher in Tennessee, is now fighting Tax Cuts...." and "...Corker dropped out of the race in Tennesse when I refused to endorse him, and now is only negative on anything Trump. Look at his record!"

Earlier this month, Trump claimed Corker decided not to seek re-election because the president wouldn't endorse him. He tweeted Oct 8: "Senator Bob Corker 'begged' me to endorse him for re-election in Tennessee. I said 'NO' and he dropped out (said he could not win without..." and "..my endorsement). He also wanted to be Secretary of State, I said 'NO THANKS.' He is also largely responsible for the horrendous Iran Deal!"

Todd Womack, Corker's chief of staff, disputed this. He said the president had called Corker asking him to reconsider retiring and said he would have endorsed him, as he had mentioned several times before.

With regard to Trump's claim on the Iran nuclear deal, Corker's office said in a statement Tuesday, "In reality, Senator Corker led the opposition to the Iran deal in Congress and voted against it. He has addressed this claim himself before."

Corker tweeted Oct. 8: "It's a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning."

In that vein, Corker shot back Tuesday morning: "Same untruths from an utterly untruthful president. #AlertTheDaycareStaff"

Trump replied, "Isn't it sad that lightweight Senator Bob Corker, who couldn't get re-elected in the Great State of Tennessee, will now fight Tax Cuts plus!"

He continued, "Sen. Corker is the incompetent head of the Foreign Relations Committee, & look how poorly the U.S. has done. He doesn't have a clue as....." and "...the entire World WAS laughing and taking advantage of us. People like liddle' Bob Corker have set the U.S. way back. Now we move forward!"

On Tuesday morning, CNN's Manu Raju asked Corker if Trump is a liar.

"The president has great difficulty with the truth. On many issues," he answered.

Trump heads to the Capitol on Tuesday to join Senate Republican lawmakers at their weekly policy luncheon.

On another topic, Corker, the Senate Foreign Relations chair, says Trump's tweets and heated rhetoric on North Korea have raised tensions and undercut Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's diplomacy. "When you kneecap that effort," Corker says, "you really move our country into a binary choice, which could lead to a world war."