You’ve always suspected that most Republican lawmakers secretly despise Donald Trump and only maintain their public support of the president out of fear of political retribution, cowardice, lack of principles, money, and/or power.
Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) just confirmed your every suspicion.
An audio recording of a telephone conference call that Senator Sasse held with constituents was obtained this week by The Washington Examiner and published today that has the Nebraska legislator spewing his true feelings about the president in an unguarded moment.
It is a moment that demonstrates both the desperation that Republicans running for re-election with the Trump albatross hanging around their necks are now feeling and the ever-growing necessity to distance themselves from the president that GOP candidates are now feeling increasingly free to display publically as election day looms.
Sasse’s comments on Trump came after a constituent on the call asked the senator to explain his “relationship with the president” and queried why the lawmaker has “to criticize him so much.”
After a brief moment outlining his considerable areas of agreement with the president, Senator Sasse soon launched into a litany of reasons that most people would take as a strong argument against re-electing Trump.
He started with criticisms of Trump’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, although he leavened that critique by equally blaming the media for piling all of the blame for the coronavirus disaster at the president’s feet.
“[The media] 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.
“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,” Sasse added. “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 declared, trying to ensure that history — and Nebraska voters — find him on the right side of the pandemic post-mortem.
Senator Sasse wasn’t finished. There was so much more to find fault with about this president’s performance to date, and the senator apparently didn’t want to miss any of the major atrocities.
“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,” Sasse claimed. “He mocks evangelicals behind closed doors. His family has treated the presidency like a business opportunity. He’s flirted with white supremacists.”
It seems like Senator Sasse has been reading Occupy Democrats’ memes.
If so, it seems that the only message he got from them is that Donald Trump’s “stupid political obsessions” are driving America’s youth far from any affiliation with the conservative causes that the Republican party likes to champion by blatantly exposing the cruelty, mendacity, and contempt for ordinary Americans that prior editions of the GOP liked to hide behind closed doors rather than tweet about every day.
“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.”
Until now that is.
It remains to be seen whether Senator Sasse’s furious back-peddling to distance himself from Donald Trump can save his Senate seat.
His campaign, however, makes no excuses for the Senator’s focusing on saving his own skin at this point in the race.
“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,” spokesman James Wegmann told The Washington Examiner.
Whether Sasse or any of his GOP colleagues will go so far in separating themselves from Trump as to vote against confirming his misbegotten Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett still remains to be seen, but any Republican who decides that their own political future would be better served by becoming to this nomination what John McCain was to the fateful “no” vote on repealing Obamacare could help tip the balance and become an overnight media star.
Hopefully, four or five of them will see the light, but, in the meantime, Republican voters may want to hear what GOP insiders really think about their party’s presidential candidate and seriously contemplate voting for Joe Biden in this election, if only for the very good reasons that Senator Sasse delineates.
Original reporting by David M. Drucker at The Washington Examiner.
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Vinnie Longobardo is the Managing Editor of Occupy Democrats. He's a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.