Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse said that President Donald Trump has “flirted” with white supremacists, “kisses dictators’ butts” and also criticized the way that the president treats women in an audio recording obtained by The Washington Examiner.
The comments that Sasse made were part of a nine-minute response the Republican senator gave when asked about his relationship with and criticism of Trump. According to the magazine, the audio was taken from a private call between Sasse and some of his constituents.
Sasse began his response by saying he worked hard to establish a working relationship with the president but reminded his listeners that he campaigned for other Republican presidential candidates before Trump became the party’s nominee in 2016. During the first two minutes of his answer, he said there were some issues on which he agreed with Trump, including efforts to appoint conservative federal judges. The Senate has already approved more than 200 of Trump’s judicial appointments, and the president has said he aspires to have at least 300 approved by the end of his first term in office.
Sasse spent the other seven minutes of his answer listing the policy positions on which he disagrees with Trump and explaining why Trump’s leadership concerns him about the future of the Republican Party, the Senate and the country as a whole. Sasse started by addressing the foreign policy problems he had with Trump, which he said included the way Trump “kisses dictators’ butts” and addressed neither the Uighur detention camps in China nor the plight of protesters in Hong Kong.
“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,” Sasse said.
The senator went on to list other issues he said he had with Trump: “The way he treats women and spends like a drunken sailor. The ways I criticized President [Barack] Obama for that kind of spending, I criticize 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 also mentioned the coronavirus pandemic, which he said Trump initially did not take seriously and added that Trump “careens from curb to curb” in his administration’s pandemic response.
Sasse said he expected some of his constituents to disagree with his views on the president—Trump won Nebraska by 25 points in 2016, according to election results compiled by The New York Times—but he said he has spoken with some Nebraskans who voiced concerns about Trump’s time in office. “They don’t really want