Outgoing Nebraska Republican Senator Ben Sasse and former GOP President Donald Trump have butted heads for quite a while now. Sasse leaving his Senate seat definitely hasn't changed that.
Sasse, who officially stepped down from his Senate seat on Sunday, did an interview with Omaha World-Herald in which he said that he was "sad" for the former President.
He told the World-Herald:
"I’m just sad for him as a human because obviously there’s a lot of complicated stuff going on in that soul."
"Just at a human level, I’m sad for him to be that needy and desperate."
"But at a policy level, I always loved that he kept his word on the judges. ... And so we got to work closely on judges."
Sasse is a staunch conservative and actually voted with Trump 85% of the time.
But he never pulled any punches in his criticism of the man himself—which Sasse disclosed resulted in "significant death threats" though he declined to provide further details.
Among the seven Republican Senators who voted to convict Trump during his second impeachment trial, Sasse said during the trial:
"President Trump lied that he ‘won the election by a landslide'."
"He lied about widespread voter fraud, spreading conspiracy theories despite losing 60 straight court challenges, many of his losses handed down by great judges he nominated."
He made it no secret that he thought Trump should be held completely responsible for his actions related to the insurrection.
"The president repeated these lies when summoning his crowd—parts of which were widely known to be violent—to Capitol Hill to intimidate Vice President Pence and Congress into not fulfilling our constitutional duties."
"Those lies had consequences, endangering the life of the Vice President and bringing us dangerously close to a bloody constitutional crisis."
The criticism definitely hasn't been one-sided, though.
Trump verbally lashed out at Sasse on multiple occasions. These criticisms ranged from saying Sasse was "a liability to the Republican Party, and an embarrassment," to attacks on his appearance, claiming Sasse looked "more like a gym rat than a U.S. Senator."
Sasse left his seat as Senator to take up the position of president of the University of Florida despite widespread protests by students and faculty.
Given his history in academic administration, the career move is hardly surprising. He served as president of Midland Lutheran College—now Midland University—from 2010 to 2014.
Though the Board of Trustees and Board of Governors of the University of Florida chose Sasse as the next president, many of the students and faculty disagreed strongly with the decision.
In October, before Sasse was selected, the university's faculty senate passed a no-confidence resolution with a vote of 72-16—expressing their concerns with the selection process. The University of Florida chapter of the United Faculty of Florida union also passed a resolution declaring their concerns with Sasse, and the process that led to him being the only finalist for the position.
Students also expressed strong opposition to Sasse's appointment as president, even protesting during his visit to the campus.
Sasse will officially assume the presidency of the University of Florida on February 6, 2023.