GOP senator unloads on Trump in constituent call, saying ‘he mocks evangelicals’ and has ‘flirted with White supremacists’ #Breaking112
“The way he kisses dictators’ butts. I mean, the way he ignores that the Uyghurs are in literal concentration camps in Xinjiang right now. He hasn’t lifted a finger on behalf of the Hong Kongers,” Sasse said in response to a constituent’s question about his relationship with Trump and his past criticisms of the President.
Despite Sasse’s reputation as a periodic critic of the President, he’s been a reliable Republican vote for Trump administration nominees and GOP policies. The Sasse spokesman did not respond to an inquiry about whether the Nebraska Republican supports Trump’s reelection.
Republican lawmakers have largely avoided attacking Trump since he took office nearly four years ago, but the rare pointed criticism from Sasse comes just several weeks before an election in which the party is at risk of losing both the White House and the Senate, which the senator emphasized in his answer.
Complaining about Trump’s “stupid political obsessions,” Sasse stressed during the call the possibility that the President’s political brand could alienate women and young voters in the future.
“If young people become permanent Democrats because they’ve just been repulsed by the obsessive nature of our politics, or if women who were willing to still vote with the Republican Party in 2016 decide that they need to turn away from this party permanently in the future, the debate is not going to be, you know, ‘Ben Sasse, why were you so mean to Donald Trump?’ ” he said. “It’s going to be ‘What the heck were any of us thinking that selling a TV-obsessed narcissistic individual to the American people was a good idea?’ It is not a good idea.”
The senator also criticized Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, saying he doesn’t think the President’s leadership during the crisis has been “reasonable or responsible.”
“The reality is that he careened from curb to curb. First, he ignored Covid. And then he went into full economic shutdown mode. He was the one who said 10 to 14 days of shutdown would fix this, and that was always wrong,” he said. “So I don’t think the way he’s led through Covid has been reasonable or responsible or right.”
Sasse’s spokesman, James Wegmann, pointed to the senator’s concerns about Republican control of the Senate in a statement to CNN on Thursday.
“I don’t know how many more times we can shout this: Even though the Beltway is obsessing exclusively about the presidential race, control of the Senate is ten times more important,” he said. “The fragile Senate seats that will determine whether Democrats nuke the Senate are the races Ben cares about, the races he’s working on, and the only races he’s talking about.”
Sasse noted in the call that he hadn’t supported Trump during his 2016 campaign.
“This has been my fear for five years,” he said on the call. “It’s why I campaigned for everybody not named Trump in 2016.”
Sasse’s office did not respond to CNN’s question Thursday on whether he supports the President’s reelection bid.