Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) tore into President Donald Trump on the Senate floor Wednesday night in an impassioned speech defending the #MeToo movement and blasting Trump's mockery of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.
Sasse became emotional as he spoke about victims of sexual assault that he knew personally and that the #MeToo movement has been a "good thing" for women and that it #MeToo is “an important and needed development" that has helped women “expose their abusers.”
“The #MeToo moment is a complicated movement,” Sasse said, “but it has been a very good thing. Far too often many girls and women have been told that they’re meat, they’ve been told this in word and indeed that they are parts to be consumed rather than God’s children to be cherished and respected and partnered with.”
Sasse then shifted his focus to Trump, who mocked Ford during a rally earlier this week.
“How did you get home? I don’t remember. How’d you get there? I don’t remember. Where is the place? I don’t remember. How many years ago was it? I don’t know,” Trump joked at a Mississippi campaign stop on Tuesday.
The Senator said Trump "cannot lead us through this time" because "it's who he is."
"We all know that the President cannot lead us through this time," Sasse said of Trump. "We know that he’s dispositionally unable to restrain his impulse to divide us. His mockery of Dr. Ford in Mississippi was wrong, but it doesn’t really surprise anyone. It’s who he is.”
Sasse also said Trump was wrong to suggest that Ford should have immediately contacted law enforcement if her claims of sexual assault were true.
Sasse criticized the Senate's rush to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court in light of the multiple allegations of sexual abuse that have surfaced against the judge.
“The #MeToo movement has elevated our consciousness and our awareness of sexual assault and sexual violence against women. And we must not give back the important ground in this movement by authorizing this media circus to stand in for generations of stories of tragic pain. And no matter how much cable news screams this, it would be an egregious offense against the cause of women to call this one up or down vote a proxy for the validation and validity of claims of sexual violence. We can do better than that, and we must do better if we’re actually going to care about women, and if we’re going to serve our constituents in this body.”
Watch the whole speech below. Sasse's remarks about Trump occur at 13:40:
One question is on everyone's mind: how will Sasse vote?
I am one of hundreds Ben Sasse’s college classmates who signed a petition urging him to vote no. Two of us are goin… https://t.co/aYtisHyTya— Melissa Bender (@Melissa Bender)1538618152.0
Hey can someone text me when Ben Sasse says he’ll be voting no on Kavanaugh? My number is 🙄🙄🙄-🙄🙄🙄🙄— Kaili Joy Gray (@Kaili Joy Gray)1538617353.0
We don’t need Ben Sasse to cry, we need him to vote no. Why are men always so emotional.— erinSCIF for America (@erinSCIF for America)1538617331.0
@WSJ Burn up the phone lines. At a minimum, make calls to these Senators and implore a NO VOTE on Kavanaugh. Susa… https://t.co/F74OzD4vu2— Terri (@Terri)1538258447.0
Ben Sasse maybe a no vote? Unlikely, but I would give him so much respect if he does vote no. https://t.co/eHwp0ogwxk— Aaron (@Aaron)1538617966.0
So Ben Sasse will be voting no then? Crying on the Senate floor and saying Trump has no leadership and still voting… https://t.co/mzfykmzexD— Marshall Brigham (@Marshall Brigham)1538628775.0
@maddow If Ben Sasse wanted Trump to nominate someone else besides Kavanaugh, then he will vote NO on K, right?— darla1249 (@darla1249)1538661426.0
@thehill What say you, @BenSasse? Are you going to do the right thing and vote no?— Cat Woman (@Cat Woman)1538656293.0
Ben Sasse could just vote no if he has problems with this nominee. He and several Republicans could force Trump to… https://t.co/1QcDJbiOCH— Marshall Brigham (@Marshall Brigham)1538643824.0
All this followed Sasse bemoaning the "politicized culture" in Washington and said he had advised the president against nominating Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
“I’m here to talk about the false choice that is being repeated hour after hour after hour on television that this confirmation vote about one vacant seat on the Supreme Court, in that vote we are somehow going to be making a giant binary choice about the much broader issue of whether we do or do not care about women," Sasse lamented. "That is simply not true.”
Sasse recalled that over the summer, he "urged the president to nominate a woman."
“Although I’ve said many complimentary things about Judge Kavanaugh and his 12 years of record on the D.C. Circuit court, I will say that I urged the president back in June and early July to make a different choice before he announced this nomination. I urged him to nominate a different individual. I urged the president to nominate a woman."
Sasse also said at the time that the Senate was incapable of handling "allegations of sexual harassment and assault that might have come forward" against Kavanaugh.
"Part of my argument then was that the very important #MeToo movement was also very new and that this Senate is not at all well prepared to handle allegations of sexual harassment and assault that might have come forward," Sasse said. "This was absent knowing a particular nominee.”
How right he was.
Constituents all over social media are pleading with Sasse to back up his words with a 'No' vote.
Pleased Senator Ben Sasse understands there are many conservative judges far more qualified than Brett Kavanaugh fo… https://t.co/FjUdvHPOwV— Ted Lieu (@Ted Lieu)1538623325.0
@joncoopertweets If @SenSasse does not have confidence that Kavanaugh is a good candidate for the Supreme Court, he… https://t.co/bT7WwZ3RqP— Lupe Woolf (@Lupe Woolf)1538656207.0
If Ben Sasse truly wants to make a difference, he can vote "no" on Kavanaugh.— Laurie Crosswell (@Laurie Crosswell)1538653232.0
@BenSasse I very much admire you and the principles you speak of and represent. But without actions to follow up th… https://t.co/TzlUzJVvNL— Steve Hooper (@Steve Hooper)1538661221.0
@BenSasse Please please do the right thing and vote no on Kavanaugh. We can do better.— EvenAbqKnows (@EvenAbqKnows)1538660363.0
.@BenSasse you spoke on the Senate floor about trying to convince POTUS to choose someone other than #Kavanaugh. Vo… https://t.co/Eg7inCBv6b— Texas Voter (@Texas Voter)1538660599.0
@BenSasse @JeffFlake @lisamurkowski @SenatorCollins @Sen_JoeManchin @HeidiHeitkamp THERE IS STILL AN OPTION TO VOTE… https://t.co/ICDlqsKh6Z— Brad 'Fuck Trump' Giovanine (@Brad 'Fuck Trump' Giovanine)1538658887.0
People who think Bart Kavanaugh is unfit for the Supreme Court: - The BAR association - 650+ law professors - Yale… https://t.co/FX3lVu5Svy— Angry Staffer (@Angry Staffer)1538614256.0
Sasse has a chance to act heroically. Friday's cloture vote on Kavanaugh will show if Sasse is serious about defending women.