Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska excoriated President Trump in a telephone town-hall meeting with constituents on Wednesday, saying the president badly mishandled the coronavirus pandemic, mistreats women and cozies up to dictators.
“I’m not at all apologetic for having fought for my values against his in places where I think his are deficient, not just for a Republican but for an American,” Sasse said.
“The way he kisses dictators’ butts, I mean, the way he ignores that the Uighurs are in literal concentration camps in Xinjiang right now. He hasn’t lifted a finger on behalf of the Hong-Kongers,” Sasse said in audio obtained and published by the Washington Examiner.
James Wegmann, Sasse’s communications director, tweeted that the call came from one of the senator’s “regular telephone town halls with Nebraska voters” and underscored the importance of the Senate races.
— James Wegmann (@jameswegmann) October 15, 2020
Sasse’s tirade against Trump came as a response to a constituent asking why he has criticized the president so much.
Calling it a “fair question,” Sasse began his answer rather evenly, saying he has worked hard to “develop a good working relationship with the president over the last three and a half years” and that he often prays for Trump and Vice President Pence.
He then spent the next full eight minutes offering up the harshest rebuke of the president by a sitting senator in Trump’s own party.
Sasse said Trump not only “fails to lead our allies” but that the United States “now regularly sells out our allies under [Trump’s] leadership.”
He listed in rapid-fire succession: “The way he treats women and spends like a drunken sailor. The ways that I criticized President Obama for that kind of spending, I’ve criticized President Trump for as well. He mocks evangelicals behind closed doors. His family has treated the presidency like a business opportunity. He’s flirted with white supremacists.”
Sasse then shifted to what he characterized as Trump’s failure in leadership with the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed the lives of more than 215,000 Americans, saying Trump treated it like a “PR crisis rather than a multiyear public health challenge.”
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