North Korea not media hype; it is real, says U.S. senator

Corker addresses hot-button issues

By SARALYN NORKUS Staff Writer
Posted 8/16/17

The Rotary Club of Cleveland had a very special guest speaker Tuesday afternoon, as U.S. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) set time aside to visit with and address the group.

Currently on August …

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North Korea not media hype; it is real, says U.S. senator

Corker addresses hot-button issues

Posted

The Rotary Club of Cleveland had a very special guest speaker Tuesday afternoon, as U.S. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) set time aside to visit with and address the group.

Currently on August recess, Corker was able to cover a myriad of hot topics, ranging from the very real threat of North Korea, the attempts at repealing the Affordable Care Act and the troubling division in the country.

“I know that the media in many cases can create a lot of focus on an issue that shouldn’t be focused on; this one is real,” Corker stated.

“At the same time, hopefully all of the rhetoric around this issue will calm down a little bit and give (Secretary of State Rex) Tillerson and officials in China the opportunity to work through this and do so in a manner that does not lead to an all-out kinetic activity.”

Corker also told the Rotarians that our nation is in a perilous time right now, with more happening in North Korea than is being reported.

“If we end up in a hot conflict, it would draw in South Korea, Japan, China and Russia,” he said.

The U.S. senator, who has been critical of the president’s Twitter usage in the past, added that “sometimes it’s best to be a little more restrained.” Still, he acknowledged that they were not “hollow” statements.

“I do think that people are very aware, China and North Korea too, that the president’s comments, relative to as a last resort moving to kinetic activity, I think they understand those are not hollow statements, but I think at the same time that we need to do everything we can to resolve it peacefully,” Corker said.

Corker is confident in Tillerson’s abilities to handle the tense North Korea situation.

“I have a lot of faith in the efforts that are underway relative to what Tillerson and (Gen. James) Mattis are doing. I think they’re putting out the best effort they can to try and ensure this is solved in a peaceful manner,” he added.

“It’s a common theme that most people believe that [North Korea’s Kim Jong Un] won’t give up his nuclear weapons ever, because he views that as a way to survival. If you watched what happened with Saddam Hussein and if you watched what happened with (Muammar) Gaddafi, there’s a lot to be learned from that. I think that Tillerson has done everything he can to try to resolve this in a peaceful manner.”

Corker continued to say that the greatest threat to our nation remains its fiscal issues.

“It seems under the radar,” he commented.

“Seventy percent of our spending is off budget.”

He added that a “fiscal straight jacket” should be put on Washington, D.C.

Corker is intent on seeing tax reform sorted out following the congressional recess, as he feels that economically, our nation is growing, but not at the rate many would like to see.

“A tax reform package needs to be in place for companies operating in the U.S. to be competitive.”

The lunch meeting transitioned into a question-and-answer session, with Corker taking the time to address concerns or questions various Rotarians had.

The cost of health care was quickly brought up, and Corker said that believed we should be doing everything we can to ensure Americans can afford it. He pointed out that “we’ve all got skin in the game to make this work.”

The U.S. senator finds it “outrageous” that we are currently spending 20 percent of the country’s GDP on health care, and feels it should be half of that. Ideally, Corker would like the health care discussion go back to ground zero and see Republicans and Democrats go across the political aisle and work together to solve the problem.

The division in the country was then discussed at length, and Corker pointed out that what is happening in Washington is “a direct reflection” of the nation.

“We’ve got to stand united,” Corker declared.

He added that the only way partisan issues can be resolved is for people use their “political capital” to work with others to solve a problem.

“There’s so many people up there that talk about bipartisanship, but then they are unwilling to actually reach across the aisle and work with somebody,” Corker continued.

“The only thing I can say is that I’ve demonstrated it — I demonstrate on a daily basis that I work with people on the other side of the aisle and I’m going to continue; that’s the only way we are going to resolve the big issues of our nation.”

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saralyn.norkus@clevelandbanner.com

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