GOP Sen. Ben Sasse said Trump 'kisses dictators' butts,' flirts with white supremacists, mistreats women, and 'mocks evangelicals'

Ken Cedeno/Associated Press
  • Republican Sen. Ben Sasse slammed President Donald Trump this week during a phone call with Nebraska constituents, saying the president "kisses dictators' butts," "has flirted with white supremacists," mistreats women, and "mocks evangelicals behind closed doors."
  • The senator made the comments during a telephone town hall meeting in response to a question about why he has publicly criticized the president. He also criticized Trump's foreign policy, spending, and handling of the coronavirus.
  • Sasse, who supported other Republican candidates in 2016, said that he fears Trump may ultimately be driving the country further to the left.

Republican Sen. Ben Sasse slammed President Donald Trump this week during a phone call with Nebraska constituents, saying the president "kisses dictators' butts," "has flirted with white supremacists," mistreats women, and "mocks evangelicals behind closed doors."

Sasse made the comments during a telephone town hall meeting in response to a question about why he has publicly criticized the president. The remarks were first reported by the Washington Examiner, which obtained and published a nine-minute audio clip of the senator's response. The clip has since been authenticated by the New York Times.

The senator said the president spends recklessly and that his family has treated the presidency "like a business opportunity." He also criticized Trump's foreign policy and record on human rights, accusing the president of ignoring "that the Uighurs are in literal concentration camps in Xinjiang right now" and not doing enough for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.Advertisement

"It isn't just that he fails to lead our allies. It's that the United States now regularly sells out our allies under his leadership," he said.

Sasse also said the president refused to take COVID-19 seriously, instead treating it like a "PR crisis" rather than a "multi-year public health challenge."

While an occasional critic of Trump, Sasse has generally been a reliable vote for the president in the Senate. He is also up for reelection on November 3 in Nebraska, which Trump carried easily in 2016.
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In a statement to CNN, the senator's office confirmed that the call went out to about 17,000 Nebraskans, but stressed the importance of the Senate over the presidential race.

"The fragile Senate seats that will determine whether Democrats nuke the Senate are the races Ben cares about, the races he's working on, and the only races he's talking about," a spokesman said. Sasse, who supported other Republican candidates four years ago, said in the call that he fears Trump may ultimately be driving the country further to the left.Advertisement

"If young people become permanent Democrats because they've just been repulsed by the obsessive nature of our politics, or if women who were still willing to vote with the Republican party in 2016 decide that they need to turn away from this party permanently in the future," he said people will not be asking why he was critical of the president.

"It's going to be that 'what the heck were any of us thinking?' that selling a tv-obsessed, narcissistic individual to the American people was a good idea."

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