- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Republican Sen. Bob Corker and a prominent biology professor clashed over President-elect Donald Trump after the two ran into each other Sunday while hiking at Tennessee’s Stringers Ridge Park.

David Haskell, a professor at the University of the South at Sewanee, a private liberal arts college, told The Tennessean that he was hiking on a trail with three of his friends when they spotted Mr. Corker.

Mr. Haskell, a 2013 a Pulitzer Prize finalist, said he immediately recognized the Chattanooga Republican and confronted him over Mr. Trump’s treatment of women.

“I told him how deeply ashamed I was to be in a state where our senator does not denounce Trump for boasting of sexual assault,” Mr. Haskell recalled Monday. “Corker has been silent on this. I said I thought his silence was shameful and that I was very angry and disappointed to be represented by a senator who would not stand up to vile and odious speech.”

Micah Johnson, a spokeswoman for Mr. Corker, accused Mr. Haskell of unleashing a “profanity-laced tirade” against the senator, The Tennessean reported.

“While hiking alone yesterday afternoon on Stringer’s Ridge, Senator Corker was aggressively approached by Professor Haskell, who was hiking with three other individuals,” Ms. Johnson said Monday. “Professor Haskell began shouting at Senator Corker in a profanity-laced tirade while pointing a finger in his face and told the senator that he was embarrassed to live in a state where the citizens voted to overwhelmingly elect Donald Trump.

“Senator Corker calmly suggested to the professor that he did not have to live in Tennessee if he did not wish to do so,” Ms. Johnson said. “Senator Corker believes that if the leadership of Sewanee witnessed the exchange, they would be sorely disappointed in the behavior of someone tasked with leading students.”

In a blog post Monday, Mr. Haskell denied that he approached Mr. Corker aggressively.

“I’m afraid my profanity was no match for that of Mr Trump and I showed no aggression,” he wrote. “Anger, for sure, but I stood at a respectful distance and listened to Corker. First Amendment speech is not aggression, it’s a right. Grabbing women, punishing them for abortions, egging on rallies toward violence: now that’s aggression.”

Mr. Haskell’s version of events was also supported by his three hiking buddies: Sewanee assistant professor Cesar Leal, former Sewanee professor Katherine Lehman, and Chattanooga social worker Troy Johnson, The Tennessean reported.

“It was so elitist, as if it was a powerful person talking down to someone who disagreed with him politically and he could say whatever he wanted,” Ms. Lehman said of Mr. Corker’s demeanor on the hiking trail. “He just had a smirk on his face.”

Mr. Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, served on the Trump campaign’s national security advisory council starting in October. The Tennessean noted that the senator did, in fact, criticize Mr. Trump’s “very inappropriate and offensive” comments about women after the infamous 2005 “Access Hollywood” videotape leaked online.

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