Republican Sen. Ben Sasse excoriated President Trump in a telephone conference call with constituents this week, saying he had mishandled the coronavirus response, "kisses dictators' butts," "sells out our allies," spends "like a drunken sailor," mistreats women, and trash-talks evangelicals behind their backs.
Trump has "flirted with white supremacists," according to Sasse, and his family "treated the presidency like a business opportunity." He said Trump could drive the Senate into the hand of the Democrats and cause permanent damage to the Republican Party.
Sasse, a possible GOP candidate for president in 2024, is up for reelection on Nov. 3 and is expected to cruise to victory.
In an audio clip of the call, obtained by the Washington Examiner, a female constituent asks Sasse to explain “your relationship with the president” and wonders, “Why do you have to criticize him so much?”
At first, Sasse focused on his points of agreement with Trump. But the senator soon began to unload, spending the majority of his nearly ten-minute answer assailing the president.
Sasse spokesman James Wegmann confirmed that his boss made the comments, saying the call occurred earlier this week.
“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 in a statement to the Washington Examiner. "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.”
In the call, Sasse said Trump refused to take COVID-19 seriously at the outset, treating it like a public relations crisis instead of a public health challenge.
Sasse began by criticizing the media. “In his partial defense here, I think that lots of the news media has pretended that COVID is literally the first public health crisis ever. And somehow, it's Donald Trump's fault. That's not true. They just wanted to use it against him," Sasse said.
And then he added: "But 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. I mean, and so I don't think the way he's lead through COVID has been reasonable or responsible, or right.”
Sasse also explored Trump's foreign policy and other issues.
“The way he kisses dictators' butts. I mean, the way he ignores that the Uighurs are in literal concentration camps in Xinjiang. Right now, he hasn't lifted a finger on behalf of the Hong-Kongers," he said. "The United States now regularly sells out our allies under his leadership, the way he treats women, spends like a drunken sailor. The ways I criticize President Obama for that kind of spending; I've criticized President Trump for as well. He mocks evangelicals behind closed doors. His family has treated the presidency like a business opportunity. He's flirted with white supremacists."
Sasse fretted that Trump and his "stupid political obsessions" could drive the country further to the Left. “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," Sasse said. "I've spent lots of the of the last year on a campaign bus, and when you listen to Nebraskans, they don't really want more rage tweeting as a new form of entertainment," he said. "I think the overwhelming reason that President Trump won in 2016 was simply because Hillary Clinton was literally the most unpopular candidate in the history of polling.”
Leading up to the state’s Republican primary earlier this year, Sasse tempered his periodic criticism of Trump, perhaps to keep his longshot GOP challenger at bay. But the senator resumed his occasional tongue-lashing once he secured the renomination. At least, that is how Sasse’s pro-Trump critics on the right have interpreted his public comments regarding the president.
Listen to the explosive telephone conversation below:
Source: David M. Drucker/washingtonexaminer.com
Date Posted: Thursday, October 15th, 2020 , Total Page Views: 1801
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