Republican Sen. Ben Sasse, of Nebraska, delivered a scathing response to his state party leaders who moved to censure him for not “bowing down” to Donald Trump.
In a bitting video statement posted to social media on Thursday, Sasse denounced the Nebraska Republican Party State Central Committee after local news reports revealed the committee was considering a censure motion for the senator’s rebuke of Trump following the Capitol insurrection last month.
The motion cited Sasse’s refusal to back Trump’s challenge of the 2020 election results and the senator’s openness to convicting the former president on an impeachment charge of inciting an insurrection.
In the five-minute video directed at the members of the party’s State Central Committee, Sasse defended himself as holding Trump accountable for his actions and denounced blind loyalty to a single person.
“Politics isn’t about the weird worship of one dude,” Sasse said. “The party can purge Trump skeptics. But I’d like to convince you that not only is that civic cancer for the nation, it’s just terrible for our party.”
The Senator also used the video to reiterate his disdain for Trump’s behavior between Election Day and his departure from office, when Trump continuously spread false claims that the election was stolen from him. Sasse said the Capitol riot “happened because the president lied to you” and because Trump “riled a mob that attacked the Capitol — many chanting ‘hang Pence.’”
“Political addicts don’t represent most Nebraska conservatives. If that president were a Democrat, we both know how you’d respond,” Sasse said. “But, because he had Republican behind his name, you’re defending him.”
In his video statement, Sasse cast himself as a loyal conservative and differentiated between his constituents and members of the State Central Committee. He said very few Nebraska voters “are as angry about life as some of the people on this committee.”
The Nebraska Republican added that his criticisms of Trump after the riots were in line with his past actions against Trump, including declining to vote for him in 2016 and 2020. He also said the party’s anger against him was not about his ideology, noting that he is one of the most conservative members of the Senate. Rather, he said, his party was dissatisfied with his “not bending the knee” to Trump.