Corker warns Trump to stop 'slurs and innuendo,' deflects VP speculation

Corker expresses hope and reservations about Trump

Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said Tuesday he sees "tremendous potential" in Donald Trump to change the way Washington works.

But the Tennessee Republican added he can't support some of the controversial things Trump has said.

"Obviously, I haven't condoned some of the slurs and innuendo that have been laid out by the [Trump] campaign," Corker told CNBC's "Squawk Box," though he did not provide specific examples.

"At the same time, I understand the tremendous potential a candidate like Trump has ... to change the trajectory of our nation," Corker said.

"Both parties enable each other to continue bad habits. And our nation is not changing" because of the partisan gridlock, Corker said. Pundits have speculated that Corker could be a vice presidential choice for Trump.

When he was on "Squawk Box" last month, Corker said he had "no reason to believe" he was being considered as Trump's running-mate.

During Tuesday's interview, the senator said he has no idea where the VP process stands. He repeatedly said he was not saying he's being vetted. "I don't want to have any conversations about that," he stressed.

Last week, Corker was critical of Trump's remarks following the June 12 gay nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida. "It wasn't the kind of response that I would expect when 50 people have perished."

"I've offered words of public encouragement [to Trump] in important times, and continue to be discouraged by the results," Corker added at the time.

Corker said Tuesday he was encouraged by the firing of Trump's campaign manager Corey Lewandowski amid infighting with chief Trump strategist Paul Manafort and the Republican National Committee.

"It's really tough to make a decision about changing someone who's been so loyal to you. Publicly, everybody is writing and talking about it today. It takes a lot of courage to do that," Corker said.

"What I hope this is going to mean is that now we're going to really focus on the fiscal issues facing our country, the economic issues, ... and how America is going to relate to the world," the senator concluded.