Republican Sasse indulges in criticism of Trump, including ‘the way he kisses the butt of dictators’


Republican US Senator Ben Sasse told voters in Nebraska in a public telephone meeting that President Donald Trump had “flirted with white supremacists”, mocked evangelical Christians in private and “kissed the buttocks of dictators.”Sasse, who is running for a second term reliably representing the Red State, made the comments in response to a question about why he was prepared to publicly criticize a president of his own party. He also criticized Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and said Trump’s family had treated the presidency “as a business opportunity.”

The comments were first reported by the Washington Examiner after obtaining an audio recording of the senator’s comments, which was posted on YouTube. Sasse spokesman James Wegmann said the call took place on Wednesday.

Two other Nebraska Republicans, U.S. Representative Dan Bacon and State Republican Party Executive Director Ryan Hamilton, told the Omaha World-Herald that they disagreed with the president’s characterizations by Sasse.

“Senator Sasse is entitled to his own opinion,” US Representative Adrian Smith, another Republican from Nebraska, said in a statement. “I appreciate what President Trump has accomplished for our country and will continue to work with him on efforts that help Nebraska. ”

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Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh declined to comment on Sasse’s comments, the World-Herald said.

Sasse has positioned himself as a conservative ready to criticize Trump, and he is seen as a potential presidential candidate for 2024. His comments on Wednesday were in response to a caller who asked about his relationship with the president, adding : “Why do you have to criticize him so much? ”

Trump carried Nebraska by 25 percentage points in the 2016 election.

Sasse “agrees” with Trump: Democratic congressman

The senator said he has worked hard to have a good relationship with Trump and regularly prays for the president “at the breakfast table in our house.” He praised Trump’s judicial appointments.

But he said he had disagreements with Trump that did not involve “mere political issues,” adding: “I’m not at all sorry that I fought for my values ​​against his in places where I thinks his own are deficient, not just for a Republican. but for an American. ”

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Sasse began his list with “The way he kisses the butt of dictators,” and said Trump “hasn’t lifted a finger” on behalf of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

“I mean, he and I have a very different foreign policy,” Sasse said. “It’s not just that he is failing to lead our allies. It is because we – the United States – regularly sell our allies under his leadership. ”

Sasse has said he criticizes Trump for the way he treats women and because Trump “spends like a drunken sailor,” saying he criticized Democratic President Barack Obama for his spending.

“He makes fun of evangelicals behind closed doors,” Sasse said, referring to Trump. “At the start of the COVID crisis, he refused to take it seriously. For months, he treated it as a news cycle-by-news cycle PR crisis rather than a multi-year public health challenge, which it is.

Congressman Eric Swalwell was among Democrats who were quick to point out on social media that Sasse’s voting record is largely in line with Trump’s priorities.

“He talks about a good game but usually gets along with Trump in the blink of an eye,” Swalwell said.

Sasse also voted for acquittal in Trump’s impeachment trial earlier this year.

Nebraska Democrat Chris Janicek, who takes Sasse for the Senate seat on Nov. 3, retweeted an account Thursday that called Sasse’s vote an acquittal as “blameless.”


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