A new provision in the GOP’s tax bill includes a 20% deduction for “pass through” businesses like LLCs and LPs—businesses that Senator Bob Corker, who was previously reluctant to vote for the bill, operates. After the provision was added to the bill, Corker reversed his position on the “far from perfect” tax bill last Friday.
In announcing his decision on the tax bill, Corker conveniently forgot to mention that he would benefit immensely from the newly added change. Twitter, however, had another theory about his reversal after the International Business Times published a report detailing the kickbacks GOP lawmakers could receive—the loophole was dubbed the #CorkerKickback.
During a tense interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday, Corker once again maintained that he knew nothing about the provision.
“First of all, I knew nothing about the provision. I’ve had no involvement. It actually came out of the House. It was a part of their House bill when they did the reconciliation, it was merged in and altered slightly to make it conform,” Corker said. “Senator Hatch has put out a statement saying I had no input in that whatsoever.”
Corker, who was once heralded for his criticism of Donald Trump’s White House, asserted that he was being unfairly “maligned” for switching his position on the bill.
“I know that I’m being maligned over totally malicious stuff that has totally been disproven,” Corker said. “I know people are having a good time with this but it’s just malicious. I’m making this decision because I believe that it is best for the country. Period.”
A visibly upset Corker even accused Blitzer of “having a great time” pressing him on the vote. Blitzer, who remained relatively stoic throughout the interview, insisted otherwise.
“This is not fun. These are critically important issues. You’re a United States senator, Mr. Chairman,” Blitzer said. “You have an enormous responsibility. These tax cuts are going to go forward, they may be great, they may not be great, but it’s your responsibility as a U.S. Senator to answer these kinds of questions and it’s certainly not something I’m doing because I want to have fun, I’m doing it because I’m a reporter.”