Senator Ben Sasse, Republican of Nebraska, slammed President Trump in a telephone booth with his constituents on Wednesday, accusing the president of swollen in response to the pandemic coronavirus, which comforted dictators and white supremacists , and voters are so hurt that he could cause a “Republican blood bath” in the Senate.
In a gruesome nine-minute protest against Mr. Trump’s foreign policy and what Mr. Sasse called his “deficit” amount, the senator said the president abused women and alienated key allies. world, has become a tough expense, ignoring human rights. and treated the pandemic as a “PR crisis.”; He predicted that Mr. Trump’s disappearance on Election Day, less than three weeks away, “seems likely,” and said Republicans would face a steep impact by backing him tightly inside four turbulent years.
“The debate will not be, ‘Ben Sasse, why are you so mean to Donald Trump?'” Mr. Sasse said, according to audio obtained by The Washington Examiner and verified by The New York Times. “It would be, ‘What the heck do we think, that selling a TV-obsessed, narcissistic individual to American citizens is a good idea?'”
“We are looking at the barrel of a blue tsunami,” he added.
Mr. Sasse also indicated more serious consequences: a “Venezuelan style” Supreme Court with dozens of magistrates installed by ascending Democrats; a strengthened China ruling the Pacific over Mr. Trump’s “weak” policies; and American allies who doubt whether they can “trust US power and the US will.”
Mr. Sasse, who is due for re-election on November 3, became public in his concerns at a time when Republicans are increasingly concerned that Mr. Trump is concerned about a devastating loss in the November elections that could also cost them the Senate. Reaching Democrats, already holding the House, unified control. After years of tolerating the president’s bullying and disregard for party orthodoxy and basic American standards, their patience seems to be wearing thin.
He spoke to constituencies on Wednesday at the same time that senators on the Judiciary Committee concluded their interrogation with Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Mr. Trump’s nominee in the Supreme Court, on Capitol Hill. Mr. Sasse, a member of the panel, praised Judge Barrett, a favorite of conservatives who was biased by the court on the right.
Rarely is there a split screen that is better wrapped in the trade-off Republican congressmen accepted during the four years of Mr. Trump’s presidency than a Republican senator who rejoices in his conservative Supreme Court nomination for a moment and regret his detrimental behavior – and his party’s willingness to quietly tolerate it – next time.
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Mr. Sasse did not exactly try to keep his criticism quiet. James Wegmann, a spokesman who confirmed his comments, said 17,000 Nebraskans were invited to participate in the call, even though it did not seem open to the general public. Mr. Sasse’s criticism played out after a caller asked the senator about his previous criticisms of Mr. Trump.
“Like many Nebraskans, I try to understand your relationship with the president,” the woman said. “Why are you still criticizing him?”
Mr. Sasse, a former university president with a doctorate in American history from Yale who styled himself as a principled conservative, never made a secret of his dislike of Mr. Trump. During the 2016 campaign, he compared Mr. Trump to David Duke and refused to vote for him. On duty, he called the signature of Mr. Trump’s trade deal with China “nut.”
But he has downplayed his criticism in recent years, which has garnered a significant endorsement from the president he had previously charged.
Wednesday’s statements were more frightening than others he had made recently, and particularly notable because of the tight grip Mr. Trump took on the Republican Party during his four years as president.
Mr. Sasse, 48, began by saying that he worked hard to build a “cooperative relationship” with Mr. Trump, and he even prayed for the president because he was one of “our leaders.” He said he was pleased when Mr. Trump used traditional conservative policy stances and appointed conservative judges. And, he added, he understands that some Nebraska voters are “disappointed” with his criticisms of the president.
But the compliments stopped there.
“I do not really apologize for fighting for my values against him in areas where I think he is lacking, not just for a Republican but for an American,” Mr. Sasse said.
He argued that Mr. Trump “took care from side to side” as he sought to respond to a pandemic that claimed more than 217,000 lives of Americans this year.
“He refused to take it seriously,” Mr. Sasse said. “For months, he treated it like a news-cycle-by-news-cycle PR crisis.”
He added that he did not think Mr. Trump’s leadership through the crisis was “reasonable or responsible, or right.”
Deficiencies add up from there.
“The way he kissed the butts of the dictators,” Mr. Sasse said, listing his reservations about Mr. Trump. “I mean, the way he ignores the Uighurs are in the literal concentration camps in Xinjiang right now. He doesn’t raise a finger on behalf of the Hong Kongers.”
He continued: “The United States regularly sells our allies under his leadership, the way he treats women, spends like a drunken sailor.”
Mr. Trump “mocked the evangelists behind closed doors,” he added. “His family treats the presidency like a business opportunity. He flirted with white supremacists.”
Each of these things, predicted by Mr. Sasse, will have consequences, for Republicans and the nation. He was particularly alarmed about the potential damage Mr. Trump, who has been supporting Democrats for decades as a businessman, could do to the conservative long-term cause by driving the country “to the left.”
Young people, he said, can “become permanently Democratic because they are simply expelled by the overcrowding of our politics.” Women, who have abandoned the party in groups, may decide “they need to turn away from this party permanently in the future.”
“I am now looking at the possibility of a Republican blood bath in the Senate, and that is why I have never been on the Trump train,” he said. “This is why I did not agree to go to his re-election committee, and why I did not campaign for him.”
In a statement, Mr. Wegmann did not comment on Mr. Sasse’s remarks. He said the senator will remain committed to Senate races.
“I don’t know how many times we can shout it,” Mr. Wegmann said. “Although the Beltway is heavily obsessed with the presidential race, control over the Senate is 10 times more important.”