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Republican Sen. Ben Sasse says the GOP 'wants a strongman daddy figure' and 'exists increasingly as a vehicle for the grievances of the angriest, oldest folks'

Business Insider
Business Insider
 2022-06-03

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Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska at a hearing on Capitol Hill on March 23, 2022.
  • GOP Sen. Ben Sasse gave a speech on Thursday that included heavy criticism of his own party.
  • He said the left wants a powerful "benevolent bureaucracy" while the right wants a "strongman daddy figure."
  • He said his party "exists increasingly as a vehicle for the grievances of the angriest, oldest folks."

Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska gave a speech on Thursday evening that included heavy criticism of his own party, urging fellow Republicans to re-orient themselves away from the politics of grievance and towards a forward-thinking party in order to tackle global threats.

"The left wants a powerful, nameless but supposedly benevolent bureaucracy, the right wants a strongman daddy figure," said Sasse in a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California. "But the loudest of them all agree on one thing: America — the one the founders gave us, the one kept for us by our parents and grandparents —  it doesn't work anymore."

Sasse spoke at the library as part of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute's "A Time for Choosing" speaker series , which has also hosted Sens. Tim Scott of South Carolina, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, and other major GOP figures in recent months.

Much of Sasse's speech included criticisms of the Democratic Party — which he says is "increasingly drunk on elite leftism" and has "little room for honest debate" — as well as President Joe Biden's August withdrawal from Afghanistan.

But the Nebraska Republican, a frequent critic of far-right figures like Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz as well as former President Donald Trump, had a lot to say about the Republican Party as well.

"We Republicans? We have a big choice to make," said Sasse. "We can either continue to drift as a party that exists increasingly as a vehicle for the grievances of the angriest, oldest folks, or we could be a future-focused party of 2030."

He also took aim at Trump, declaring that in 2016, American voters were presented with two candidates whose "fundamental diagnosis was really the same" and that both sought to victimize voters.

"The system's rigged, you're getting screwed, you're a victim, the country's going down the tubes," Sasse said mockingly. "You're victims."

Sasse was one of 7 Republican senators who voted to convict Trump for inciting an insurrection after January 6.

"President Trump lied that he 'won the election by a landslide.' He lied about widespread voter fraud," the Nebraska Republican said in a statement at the time. "Those lies had consequences, endangering the life of the vice president and bringing us dangerously close to a bloody constitutional crisis. Each of these actions are violations of a president's oath of office."

Meanwhile, Trump — still the undisputed leader of the Republican Party — recently said he never should have endorsed Sasse for re-election to the Senate in 2020.

"He's bad news, Ben Sasse," Trump said during a tele-rally in May. "He begged for my endorsement, the day after he started hitting me and we hit much harder than he knows how to hit."

Trump has railed against Sasse before as well, calling him a "loser," a "sleazebag," and a "quiet little boy" in a 2021 interview with The Federalist.

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Comments / 148

Dennis Gravert
06-04

Totally agree with that. Another thing I don't get, the republicans wanted that, so now when a company speaks out against a law they pass, all hell breaks loose. Total control is their mantra now.

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HaPpYCaMpER
06-04

Yea. Repukes are rigging it as he speaks. And it’s humorous he blames Joe for trumps failure surrendering to the Taliban. EVER NOTICE AMERICA HAS TO REPEATEDLY RECOVER AFTER A REPUBLICAN HAS BEEN IN POWER??? Your party DESERVES to LOSE.

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Kevin Schwab
06-04

any republican who ignored the crimes and the evidence should be drummed out of the republican party...the gop needs to find a moral compass and learn how to follow it...and soon

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