‘Trump is playing nicer than usual. He didn’t have to endorse Sasse…’
(Dan E. Way, Liberty Headlines) The fickle fidelity of Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., once considered a potential 2020 challenger to President Donald Trump, is swinging in sync with the political pendulum instead.
Once in the vanguard of the GOP’s never-Trump movement, Sasse has tucked tail. If not exactly warming up to the 45th president, he at least is no longer barraging Trump with personal barbs.
Trump, in return, shocked political watchers Tuesday by endorsing the freshman senator via Twitter as he faces a serious primary challenge from the right.
Senator Ben Sasse has done a wonderful job representing the people of Nebraska. He is great with our Vets, the Military, and your very important Second Amendment. Strong on Crime and the Border, Ben has my Complete and Total Endorsement!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 11, 2019.
Sasse famously did not vote for Trump, and called for Republicans to vote for someone else. He has been particularly critical of Trump’s tariff policies, warning that trade protectionism was a catalyst of the Great Depression.
“Mr. Trump’s relentless focus is on dividing Americans, and on tearing down rather than building back up this glorious nation,” he wrote in an open letter to Trump supporters during the 2016 campaign.
During a 2016 appearance on MSNBC he called Trump and Hillary Clinton “two fundamentally dishonest New York liberals … two people who might be indicted” before the election.
“I signed up for the party of Abraham Lincoln, not the party of David Duke, Donald Trump,” he said, linking Trump to the white supremacist.
A column in The Washington Post analyzed his recent turnabout, saying “the senator from Nebraska and (maybe former?) never-Trumper got what he ostensibly wanted with his delicate dance around President Trump since then: a coveted tweet-endorsement to protect him from a pro-Trump primary challenger.”
Republican activist and businessman Matt Innis, a former county GOP chairman, is challenging Sasse. Ironically, Innis’ campaign insists that Trump needs support, not critics.
“You can’t find anything he’s really accomplished other than bashing the president,” the Omaha World–Herald quoted Innis as saying when he announced his candidacy.
Sasse was seen by some as a barometer of where the Republican Party stands in the Age of Trump.
“This is Trump’s party now. Republicans who resist [acceptance of] that largely lost their jobs or left,” The Washington Post column stated. “The Republicans who have stayed elected have adapted to survive.”
The Post made it clear Trump had less to gain from the gesture than Sasse: “Trump is playing nicer than usual. He didn’t have to endorse Sasse.”