GOP Sen. Ben Sasse Says Trump Mistreats Women and Flirts With White Supremacists in Audio Recording

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.



Ben Sasse wearing a suit and tie: Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) speaks while Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the second day of her Supreme Court confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill on October 13, 2020 in Washington, D.C. In an audio recording obtained by The Washington Examiner, Sasse criticized President Donald Trump after he was asked about his relationship with the president.


© Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) speaks while Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the second day of her Supreme Court confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill on October 13, 2020 in Washington, D.C. In an audio recording obtained by The Washington Examiner, Sasse criticized President Donald Trump after he was asked about his relationship with the president.

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

GOP’s Sen. Sasse says Trump mistreats women, flirts with white supremacy and secretly mocks evangelicals

During the call, a woman asked Sasse why he’s so hard on the president. The senator has been among the Republican lawmakers willing to criticize the president from time to time, but has mostly supported him and his policies.

But in the call, Sasse unleashed a torrent of criticisms at Trump.

“The way he kisses dictators’ butts. I mean, the way he ignores the Uighurs, our literal concentration camps in Xinjiang. Right now, he hasn’t lifted a finger on behalf of the Hong-Kongers,” Sasse said.

“The United States now regularly sells out our allies under his leadership, the way he treats women, spends like a drunken sailor,” Sasse continued. “The ways I criticize 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.”

This appears to be the most brutal assessment of the president from a sitting GOP lawmaker, echoing many of the charges against Trump from the left. While some Republicans who have left Congress and now speak out against Trump claim many of their ex-colleagues privately feel the same, no one has gone this far in denouncing the president.

A Trump campaign spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Sasse’s spokesman, James Wegmann, in confirming the authenticity of the call, defended his boss as being focused solely on the Senate races to ensure Republicans maintain the majority.

“I don’t know how many more times we can shout this: Even though the Beltway is obsessing exclusively about the presidential race, control of the Senate is ten times more important,” Wegmann said. “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.”

Sasse said on the call that he fears Trump’s “stupid political obsessions” and “rage tweeting” will drive voters away.

Wegmann did not respond when asked if Sasse intends to vote for Trump next month.

Sasse is up for reelection this year, and is expected to easily win in his GOP-leaning state. The greater concern for Sasse was a serious primary challenge from the right in the spring. His opponent focused on Sasse’s previous critiques of Trump, which Sasse toned down as a result. Trump endorsed Sasse in September 2019.

The senator had admonished Trump early in 2016 when he was seeking the GOP nomination, saying he would vote for a third-party candidate. Earlier this year, however, Sasse voted to acquit Trump on two impeachment charges.

But relations between them have frayed lately. Sasse began criticizing the president again after handily winning his GOP primary. In August, Trump reacted strongly to Sasse’s objection to the president approving coronavirus relief aid by executive order.

“RINO Ben Sasse, who needed my support and endorsement in order to get the Republican nomination for Senate from the GREAT State of Nebraska, has, now that he’s