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Factbox: Retiring Republican Corker embroiled in public fight with Trump

Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) arrives for a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., October 24, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

(Reuters) - U.S. Senator Bob Corker has spent much of the past two months in a very public war of words with President Donald Trump, something highly unusual for a member of Congress and White House occupant from the same political party.

The following are some facts about the Republican senator from Tennessee:

- Corker, 65, was elected to the Senate in 2006 and will leave in early 2019. Corker’s criticism of Trump has increased since he announced he would not seek a third term next year, but they had clashed before, including after Trump’s reaction to a white supremacist rally in August that many viewed as equivocal.

- Corker built a fortune as a successful construction firm owner before entering politics. As mayor of Chattanooga, his first Senate campaign was marked by a Republican National Committee advertisement criticized as racial politicking against his African-American opponent, Harold Ford. Corker asked the RNC to take down the spot.

- In the Senate, Corker is known as a fiscal conservative with a reputation for working with Democrats to craft deals in areas from immigration to debt reduction. His independent streak and outspoken personality has made him a popular guest on talk shows.

- Corker became chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2015, becoming a leading national security voice. He was on Trump’s shortlist to be secretary of state before the selection of Exxon Mobil executive Rex Tillerson, with whom Corker frequently consults.

- Corker has faced harsh criticism from the far-right, echoed in Trump’s tweets, for legislation that gave Congress the right to review the 2015 Iran nuclear pact before it went into effect. Trump’s charges that Corker was responsible for the deal have been widely rejected as false, given that Corker was one of its leading critics.

Corker is also a member of the Budget, Banking and Aging committees.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Frances Kerry

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