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GOP Sen. Ben Sasse says Biden's chief of staff Ron Klain 'literally lives on Twitter' and sees it as his 'constituency'

Business Insider
Business Insider
 2022-06-03

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Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska and White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain.
  • GOP Sen. Ben Sasse took a swipe at White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain for using Twitter so much.
  • "That is Ron Klain's constituency," Sasse said of the social media site he publicly quit in 2017.
  • Klain has said being so online is "a little way to kind of get a sense of what's out there."

Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska criticized White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain for being a frequent and conspicuous Twitter user in a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California on Thursday night.

Sasse said that following his election in 2020, President Joe Biden "immediately handed the staffing of his White House to far-left 20-somethings and a chief of staff who literally lives on Twitter."

"That is Ron Klain's constituency," he added.

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.

The Nebraska Republican highlighted Klain's frequent use of the platform as emblematic of how the Democratic Party and the Biden administration are "disconnected" from the rest of the country, in Sasse's view.

Sasse also spent much of his speech — which was otherwise about the future of the Republican Party and a critique of so-called "isolationists" within it — describing how Twitter and social media have a negative impact on politics.

"Political Twitter isn't real," said Sasse. "Only 22% of Americans use it, and more than half of the one-fifth of Americans who use Twitter never follow politics on it."

"The vast majority of traffic on Twitter is driven by well under 2% of the American public," he added. "And yet politicians — again left and right —  are barely distinguishable in seeking to cater to this tiny minority and the algorithms that drive their addicted engagement."

Sasse was once one of Congress's most frequent and prolific Tweets himself before notably quitting in 2017. He told Insider at the time that he decided to take a "longer-than-just-Sunday social media Sabbath" but found that after four days, it "felt pretty great."

Klain's frequent Twitter use has gotten the White House into trouble before, including when he endorsed an October 2021 tweet from economist Jason Furman that labeled inflation and supply chain issues as  "high-class problems."

Reached for comment, White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates didn't address Klain's Twitter habit, but suggested that Sasse's argument is undermined by his decision to vote against the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

"Senator Sasse talks a good game, but he was among the group that couldn't even find a way to support the bipartisan infrastructure bill that Mitch McConnell backed – so that tells you a lot about where he stands," said Bates.

Klain, who frequently tweets and re-tweets from the official @WHCOS Twitter account , defended his frequent use of the platform in a January interview with the Washington Post.

"I find being on Twitter useful as an early-warning system of things that, to be honest, reporters are talking about," said Klain. "So, a little way to kind of get a sense of what's out there. What our activists are talking about. What our critics are talking about. What Republicans are talking about."

But for Sasse, being so online leads to a "government of the weirdos, by the weirdos, and for the weirdos."

"Echo-chamber politicians drinking their own bathwater isn't entirely new, of course," he said. "But what is new — and something is new here — is the instant feedback loop of social media."

Read the original article on Business Insider

Comments / 91

Kat Stapleton
06-03

is he for real?? Was he upset when his old boss was on there constantly? Apparently Klein is behaving himself or they would have banned him like they did to delirious don.

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Eirinn Go Brach
06-05

LOL,, I guess he forgot about his orange clown leader. Twitter, golf, Twitter, golf, peppered with ignorance, & vitiol. 🤣🤣🤣🐷🤡

Reply(2)
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Andria M. Simpson-Russell
06-05

Now THAT'S funny😅😅🤣😂😂🤣😅. Apparently he forgot that 45 lived, ate, breathed and dumped 💩 tweeting. Hypocrit Trumplicans.

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