In June 2017, Bob Corker extended a golf-club shaped olive branch to an angry President Donald Trump.

Corker, then a Tennessee Republican senator, had recently enraged Trump by saying his administration was in a “downward spiral.” Hoping to de-escalate, his aides asked the White House to broker a peacemaking meeting between the men in one of Trump’s most natural habitats: the golf course.

An outing was soon arranged at Trump’s Northern Virginia course, where the pair were joined on a warm Sunday by the former star NFL quarterback Peyton Manning and Andrew Giuliani, a public liaison assistant at the White House and the son of Trump personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

Over an 18-hole, 4½-hour round that featured a clubhouse lunch, Corker and Trump, who sported a red “Make America Great Again” hat, chatted amiably until a moment of comic relief: Andrew Giuliani chipped a ball that struck Corker in the neck. Laughing, Trump turned to Giuliani and gestured to some nearby Secret Service agents.

“Thank God you didn’t do that to me — or you’d have two in the chest from these guys!” Trump joked, according to a person familiar with the incident, who said Corker escaped serious injury.

Corker would soon return to feuding bitterly with Trump. But the golf outing had allowed for a brief connection in what aides and associates call Trump’s most relaxed environment. “You learn a lot about him personally,” the senator told POLITICO at the time.

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