President Trump’s latest battle

(NBC News) – The White House calls it “petty”.

Scathing critiques of President Trump from two Republican Senators as the party tries to unite on tax reform.

Arizona Senator Jeff Flake announces he’s quitting after this term because he can’t work with a president he considers dangerous to democracy. “The personal attacks, the threats against principles, freedoms and institution, the flagrant disregard for truth and decency. Reckless, outrageous, and undignified behavior,” said the Arizona Senator.

He’s not alone. Tennessee Senator Bob Corker on President Trump. “He’s utterly untruthful. I think what we need to is support him when he’s right, check him when he’s wrong,” said Senator Bob Corker, (R) Tennessee.

It’s unusual – two lawmakers so openly and pointedly critical of the character of their party’s own president. “It forces other Republicans to confront the question ‘Will I now start to say more publicly what I’ve been thinking?’ asked Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, (D) Rhode Island.

The White House brushing it off as noise from two lawmakers who are retiring because they couldn’t win reelection.

Insisting the president will be judged on jobs and the economy. “I think those are the things that people actual care about. Not some petty comments from Senator Corker and Senator Flake,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

The rift comes as republicans try to unite behind President Trump on tax reform. “We intend to achieve what we set out to achieve before the end of the year,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R) Kentucky.

“All this STUFF you see on a daily basis on Twitter this, or Twitter that – forget about it! Let’s focus on helping people,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan, (R) Wisconsin.

The president tweeted that he got multiple standing ovations meeting with republican senators.

Most he says are great people who want big tax cuts.

They may need those tax cuts. Some lawmakers agree with the president that if it doesn’t happen, republicans will lose next year’s midterm elections.