Down in the polls for Joe Biden and campaigning through a violent pandemic, Donald Trump chose to set aside time Saturday morning for a Twitter rant against a member of his own party in the Senate, a chamber that Republicans face losing on November 3rd.
The president called Ben Sasse “small,” “the least effective of our 53 Republican senators,” “pretty stupid and disgusting,” and “an embarrassment to the great state of Nebraska.”
“Other than that,” Trump concluded, “he’s just a wonderful guy!”
Sasse’s crime was to have criticized Trump in strong terms during a call with voters first reported by the Washington Examiner, saying the president “kisses the dictators’ lap” and “flirts with white supremacy.”
“I’m now looking at the possibility of a Republican carnage in the Senate, and that’s why I’ve never been on the Trump train,” Sasse said.
This week, analysts at the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia predicted that Senate Democrats would earn “a net gain of between one and eight seats … enough to give them a small majority.”
Sasse, 48, a libertarian conservative who is widely believed to be looking at a 2024 presidential election, is a shoo-in for re-election. In 2018, he published a book-length call for courtesy across the aisle, Them: Why We Hate Each Other – and How to Heal.
But critics mocked his claim of never having “ever been on the Trump train” – he has voted with the Trump White House 87% of the time and joined the rest of his party except Mitt Romney in voting to acquit Trump by both charges charges.
Speaking to voters, Sasse criticized Trump for treating the coronavirus pandemic “like a PR crisis” and said the president “kisses the buttocks of dictators [and] mocking evangelicals behind closed doors ”.
“His family has treated the presidency as a business opportunity,” Sasse said. “He has been flirting with white supremacy.”
Evidence for such accusations is plentiful. But Trump also pointed to harsh political truths as he highlighted the fate of other senators who have turned against him.
“Senator Sasse was just as beautiful as a RINO [Republican in Name Only] may be until he recently won the Republican nomination to run for another term, ”Trump wrote. “Then he returned to his rather stupid and disgusting ways. Must feel he can not lose to a Democrat. ”
Trump later added that Sasse “appears to be heading the same glorious path as former Senators Liddle ‘Bob Corker’ and Jeff ‘the Flake’ Flake.”
Corker of Tennessee was once considered a running mate or secretary of state, but ended up comparing Trump’s White House to an “adult day care institution” and retired in 2018. Flake, Arizona, also resigned that year.
Trump said both were “completely eligible, could not even come close to winning their primary,” and decided to drop out of politics and gracefully ‘PENSIONS’. Sasse could be next, or maybe the Republicans should find a new and more viable candidate? ”
It will not happen. Nevertheless, conservative Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin on Friday lambasted Sasse for not opposing Trump in public.
“He has been quiet when his countrymen needed openness,” Rubin wrote.
“Sasse has not publicly defended Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, in light of Trump’s attacks. He has not warned governors not to follow Trump’s recommendations on the pandemic or admonished the White House to avoid masks and social distancing, or commented on Trump’s behavior when the president was infected or in any meaningful way leveled with the American people about Trumps. racism and contempt for religion.
“One has to conclude that pure cowardice and a yen to stay in office (requires him to avoid anger from the MAGA crowd) account for his restraint. As with all other silent Republicans of this era, personal ambition won over commitment to the country and the Constitution. ”
On Saturday, James Wegmann, a spokesman for Sasse, claimed: “Ben said the same thing to the Nebraskans, as he has repeatedly said to the president directly in the Oval Office. Ben is focused on defending the Republican Senate majority, and he will not waste a minute on tweets. ”