In a five-minute video released Thursday, the Nebraska Republican blasted “political addicts” and those who treat civic culture like “a religion,” adding that much of the criticism he’s endured within the GOP has stemmed from him “not bending the knee to one guy.”
“My disagreements with President Trump have never been personal,” Sasse said. “They’ve always been about genuine affection for the constitutional order ― something every American, regardless of party, should share.”
“What makes America great isn’t power politics,” he continued. “It’s what happens in the communities where you and I are raising our kids. ... Nebraskans aren’t rage addicts, and that’s good news. 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 Nebraska Republican Party’s State Central Committee is expected to vote next week on whether to censure Sasse, who did not endorse Trump’s candidacy in 2016 or 2020 and has supported the House’s impeachment of the former president for inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill insurrection.
The senator, who last month publicly accused Trump of “pouring gasoline on these fires of division” and disregarding his oath of office, doubled down on that stance in his video statement.
“If that president were Democrat, we both know how you’d respond,” he said. “But because he had Republican behind his name, you’re defending him.”
The Senate trial of Trump on the impeachment charge begins next week, with Sasse presumably lined up to vote to convict him. He was one of five Senate Republicans ― out of the chamber’s 50 ― to join Democrats in defeating a bid to block the trial from proceeding.
Sasse was a staunch opponent of Trump as the businessman successfully sought the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. In May of that year, his criticisms of Trump prompted delegates to the Nebraska Republican Convention to officially reprimand him.
He is among a growing list of top Republicans, which include Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who have faced pushback for not being supportive enough of the former president. Despite Sasse’s stance, he easily won election to a second term last November.