Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) is one of the few Senate Republicans to express unvarnished criticism of former President Donald Trump.
Though Sasse sided with Trump in some of his most consequential stances—supporting the nomination of Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court and voting to acquit Trump in his first impeachment trial—the Senator hasn't been shy about his disdain for the former President's antics.
Last October, Sasse railed against Trump for the way "he kisses dictators' butts" and "spends like a drunken sailor," as well as his leniency towards white supremacists and his profit from the presidency.
In a lengthy Facebook post last December, Sasse meticulously debunked Trump's and Republican heavy-hitters' lies about the legitimacy of the 2020 election, calling them "dangerous." Sure enough, a week later, a mob of pro-Trump extremists stormed the United States Capitol in a deadly failed insurrection.
Nevertheless, the Republican party of Sasse's home state of Nebraska advanced a motion to censure him for speaking out against election fraud conspiracy theories.
With the censure likely to pass, the Senator was unrepentant about his criticisms of Trump as he addressed the Nebraska GOP in a video statement.
Message to Nebraska GOP State Central Committeewww.youtube.com
Sasse said in part:
"Let's be clear: The anger in this state party has never been about me violating principle or abandoning conservative policy -- I'm one of the most conservative voters in the Senate -- the anger's always been simply about me not bending the knee to one guy."
He went on to invite their censure, but with a warning:
"You are welcome to censure me again, but let's be clear about why this is happening: It's because I still believe -- as you used to -- that politics isn't about the weird worship of one dude. The party could purge Trump skeptics, but I'd like to convince you that not only is this 'civic cancer' for the nation, it's also terrible for our party."
Trump's critics largely agreed.
Guts. Glad someone’s got ‘em. Thank you @BenSasse for being you. #TheRealGOP https://t.co/GU816j2xua— Meagan_M_Hanson (@Meagan_M_Hanson) 1612492092.0
Good speech here by Ben Sasse: https://t.co/m4hYEWuYmb— James McNamara (@James McNamara) 1612488048.0
Never a fan of Sasse, but I confess I don’t mind the phrase “the weird worship of one dude” being part of history. https://t.co/geqaNWd0Ei— John Hodgman (@John Hodgman) 1612489141.0
A big thank you to @BenSasse. We will disagree on a lot of policy issues but what you had to say here to your fello… https://t.co/r89NdBSpOG— Larry Paise (@Larry Paise) 1612488422.0
Principled opposition should always be welcome in a democracy. https://t.co/IDxYMbXha9— Jimbo (@Jimbo) 1612490808.0
I like this guy. https://t.co/OJEyEpXAjP— Kristi Rothschild (@Kristi Rothschild) 1612492737.0
People hadn't forgotten the stances Sasse took in support of Trump, but they hoped his rebuke was a signal that he'd work to repair the damage done by the former President.
Sasse worshipped the weird dude as much as necessary to win re-election. But hopefully he's a still a vote for con… https://t.co/xQtLaFm79D— Grant Stern (@Grant Stern) 1612501824.0
@jaketapper @BenSasse The problem with Ben Sasse is that he sounds so reasonable and honorable but he spent the las… https://t.co/hWhosUxQ2G— KBS (@KBS) 1612488634.0
@jaketapper @BenSasse Not a Sasse policy fan. Though I give him props for doing the right thing here!!!— BidenSpellsRelief (@BidenSpellsRelief) 1612488940.0
Sasse will be one of 100 Senators acting as jurors in Trump's impeachment trial next week.