Senator Ben Sasse, Republican of Nebraska, berated President Trump in a telephone town hall with voters Wednesday, accusing the president of clinging to dictators and white supremacists, ill-treating women and allies of the United States, and inappropriating the coronavirus pandemic fight.
“I don’t think the way it is run by Covid was sensible or responsible or right,” Sasse said, according to the Washington Examiner audio.
He added that Mr Trump “walked from curb to curb” trying to respond to a pandemic that killed more than 21
Mr Sasse’s criticism came just minutes after someone on the phone call asked the Senator about his previous criticism of Mr Trump. The senator, who describes himself as fundamentally conservative, has never pretended to be a fan of the president. But even compared to his earlier remarks, his comments on the call were remarkably damning.
“The way he kisses dictators’ buttocks,” said Mr Sasse, listing his reservations about Mr Trump. “I mean, how he ignores the fact that the Uyghurs are in literal concentration camps in Xinjiang right now. He didn’t lift a finger on behalf of the Hong Kong people. “
He continued, “The United States now regularly sells our allies under his leadership, the way he treats women, pretends to be a drunken sailor.”
Mr. Trump, he added, “mocks evangelicals behind closed doors. His family treated the presidency like a business opportunity. He’s flirted with white supremacists. “
Mr Sasse, who is up for re-election on November 3rd, has never kept his dislike of Mr Trump a secret. During the 2016 campaign, he compared Mr. Trump to David Duke and said he did not vote for him. In office he called Trump’s typical trade war with China “nuts”.
But he had toned down his criticism in recent years and received crucial endorsement from the president he had once devastated.
Mr Sasse told voters during the call that he was concerned that the president’s failure and “stupid political obsessions” would empower the Democrats.
“When young people become permanent Democrats because they have just been rejected by obsession with our politics, or when women who were ready to vote with the Republican Party in 2016, decide to turn away from this party permanently in the future,” Mr Sasse .
In a statement, Mr. Wegmann said that Mr. Sasse would only talk about Senate races that he argued were far more important with a threatened Republican majority.
“I don’t know how often we can shout that,” said Wegmann. “Although the Beltway is purely race-owned, control of the Senate is ten times more important.”