Retiring Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker announced Wednesday that his Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing on President Donald Trump’s “authority to use nuclear weapons,” The Hill reports.
The top-ranking Republican said in a statement that the committee will hold a hearing next week in which Congress will specifically look at the “authority and process” for using nukes for the first time in over four decades.
“A number of members both on and off our committee have raised questions about the authorities of the legislative and executive branches with respect to war making, the use of nuclear weapons, and conducting foreign policy overall,” Corker said.
“This continues a series of hearings to examine these issues and will be the first time since 1976 that this committee or our House counterparts have looked specifically at the authority and process for using U.S. nuclear weapons,” he added. “This discussion is long overdue, and we look forward to examining this critical issue.”
The hearings reveal rising alarm in Congress over the unstable president’s comments regarding North Korea. Trump threatened the country would see “fire and fury like the world has never seen” if they continue down their path of aggression.
Multiple Republicans and Democrats have voiced concern and suggested Congress must authorize the use of nuclear weapons and a formal declaration of war before Trump can attack the country.
“Preemptive war,” said Alaska Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan, “would require the authorization of Congress.”
On the Democratic side, both Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey and California Rep. Ted Lieu have introduced bills banning Trump from ordering a preemptive nuclear strike without congressional authorization. Both bills have stalled in both chambers of Congress.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi has called on Congress to ban the president from using such weapons unless the United States is hit first.
That Corker would be the most prominent Republican to push back on Trump’s authority to use nukes is no surprise, the senator has been extremely critical of the president he once supported and campaigned for since announcing his retirement.
“I think the things that are happening right now that are harmful to our nation, whether it’s the breaking down of — we are going to be doing hearings on some of the things that he purposely is breaking down — relationships we have around the world that have been useful to our nation,” he told CNN last month. “But I think at the end of the day, when his term is over, I think the debasing of our nation, the constant non-truth telling, just the name-calling … I think the debasement of our nation will be what he’ll be remembered most for, and that’s regretful.”
Corker explained that “many of us” have tried to “intervene” and urge Trump to conduct himself as a president but lamented that “He’s obviously not going to rise to the occasion as president.”
“No way,” Corker said when asked if he would support Trump again.