On Thursday, Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse released a five-minute video in response to efforts by the Nebraska Republican State Central Committee to censure him due to his criticism of former President Donald Trump, as reported by The Hill. Sasse told Republicans in the state that they must choose between "conservatism and madness" as he faces a censure at the committee's meeting on February 13. Sasse was previously censured in May 2016 for not being supportive enough of the then-Republican presidential candidate.
Sasse, who has served in the Senate since 2015, described the efforts to remove Republicans not fully behind Trump from the party as "not only civic cancer for the nation [but] just terrible for our party." He described those in the Nebraska state party of being out of touch with local people and "angry about life."
"Nebraskans aren't rage addicts and that's good news. You are welcome to censure me again, but let's be clear about why this is happening — it's because I still believe as you used to that politics isn't about the weird worship of one dude," Sasse told his detractors.He also pointed to his results in the state in the 2020 election in comparison to Trump, which saw him accumulate tens of thousands more votes than the former president.
Sasse is just one of the Republicans who have recently come under fire due to their skepticism of Trump. Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney survived a vote on Thursday as Trump supporters sought to remove her from her leadership roles because she voted in favor of the former president's impeachment. Cheney is the third-leading House Republican. Outside of Washington D.C., local Republican organizations have made efforts to hold Republicans who voted against Trump accountable. Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger was censured by the La Salle County Republican Central Committee on Wednesday and South Carolina Rep. Tom Rice was censured by his state party on Saturday.
Despite the efforts to punish him and other Republican politicians who haven't backed Trump, Sasse didn't change his opinion and once again criticized the former president for his role in the violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 which left five dead. He pointed out that he was under fire because he condemned the false claims made by Trump following the election and leading up to the riots, not because he violated any of the conservative principles he held.
He described the day as "shameful mob violence to disrupt a constitutionally mandated meeting of the Congress to affirm … peaceful transfer of power" following what he described as 60 days of lies and 60 losing court challenges that saw many Trump-appointed judges strike them down. Sasse added that Trump's lies even put former Vice President Mike Pence in danger, as he pushed a false claim that he could violate his constitutional oath and declare Trump the winner.