As the Nebraska Republican state central committee prepares to consider a motion to censure Sen. Ben Sasse next week, the GOP senator posted a video Thursday stating that he pledged from the beginning to “put the Constitution ahead of party politics” and said he will continue to do so.
“My disagreements with President (Donald) Trump have never been personal — they’ve always been about my genuine affection for the constitutional order, something every American regardless of party should share,” Sasse said.
While Sasse has not stated whether he would be willing to pledge that he would not vote to convict Trump following a Senate trial, the senator has said that the president was “derelict in his duty to defend the Constitution and uphold the rule of law” during last month’s insurrection at the Capitol.
Sasse has said the former president “has consistently lied by claiming that he ‘won the election by a landslide’ while promoting conspiracy theories.”
That criticism has been enough to stir several GOP county organizations to seek a vote to censure Sasse at the GOP state gathering in Columbus on Feb. 13.
The GOP in Scotts Bluff County, in advocating for censure, sent an open letter to Sasse, calling his actions in criticizing Trump “a selfish, political ploy.”
“Sasse has a record of bashing President Trump,” Kolene Woodward, chair of the Scotts Bluff County GOP, told the Scottsbluff Star-Herald. “Well, in the movement, Trump didn’t find us; we found him. We found a voice for our political views, and someone who would actually advance that voice, and Sasse is going completely against that.
“No matter what Trump does or whatever, going forward, there are 75 million people who want that voice to continue. Him (Sasse) not representing that is kind of our problem.”
Sasse, in a video posting on YouTube, acknowledged that the anger within the state party rests solely on “me not bending the knee to” Trump.
The former president won 58% of the vote in Nebraska but carried 87 of the state’s 93 counties with at least 67% support.
“As a friend and fellow Republican,” Sasse said in a video, “I want to shoot straight: I’m not gonna spend any time trying to talk you out of another censure.”
In 2016, the Nebraska Republican Party censured Sasse for not being supportive enough of Trump.
But four years later, Sasse won a GOP primary contest with a record high vote and then repeated that success in the general election by receiving more votes than any candidate in Nebraska history.
“We still agree on some big things,” Sasse said in his video. “Rule of law, constitutionalism, limited government, unlimited human potential, extending the American dream to more of our brothers and sisters.
“We can lead” again, Sasse said, “but only if our party is willing to change.”