Trump slams ‘rogue’ Sasse after criticism of executive actions

President Trump on Monday lashed out at Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), accusing the senator of having “gone rogue” after he sharply criticized the president’s executive action over the weekend aimed at providing coronavirus aid in lieu of a congressional deal.

“RINO Ben Sasse, who needed my support and endorsement in order to get the Republican nomination for Senate from the GREAT State of Nebraska, has, now that he’s got it (Thank you President T), gone rogue, again,” Trump tweeted. “This foolishness plays right into the hands of the Radical Left Dems!”

The president has frequently used the term “RINO,” or “Republican in name only,” to describe GOP lawmakers who criticize him. He’s has previously used the term to describe Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and former Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

Sasse on Saturday decried Trump’s series of executive actions that unilaterally sought to extend enhanced unemployment benefits, defer payroll tax collection and offer assistance on rent and student loan payments as “unconstitutional slop.”

“President Obama did not have the power to unilaterally rewrite immigration law with DACA, and President Trump does not have the power to unilaterally rewrite the payroll tax law,” Sasse said in a statement, referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. “Under the Constitution, that power belongs to the American people acting through their members of Congress.”

Sasse responded to Trump via his campaign account on Twitter with a lengthy message written on the Notes app of an iPhone. The senator said his disagreements with Trump were not personal and offered praised for Trump’s policy toward China. But he stood by his criticism over the weekend that set off the president.

“No president — whether named Obama or Trump or Biden or AOC — has unilateral power to rewrite immigration law or to cut taxes or to raise taxes,” Sasse wrote. “This is because America doesn’t have kings.”

Sasse signed the note “Gym Rat,” a reference to a 2016 Trump tweet in which the president said the senator looked “more like a gym rat than a U.S. senator.”

The Nebraska senator has at times been among the most willing members of the GOP conference to criticize the president. Still, Trump endorsed Sasse last September in his primary contest, which the senator won handily in May.

Sasse has reemerged as a vocal Trump critic since winning his primary, calling out the president on a handful of issues in recent months.

After federal law enforcement cleared out peaceful protesters near the White House ahead of Trump’s walk to a nearby church where he posed for photos, Sasse said he was “against clearing out a peaceful protest for a photo op that treats the Word of God as a political prop.”

The senator late last month rebuked Trump for his decision to pull U.S. forces out of Germany, calling it “weak.”

“Once more, now with feeling: U.S. troops aren’t stationed around the world as traffic cops or welfare caseworkers they’re restraining the expansionary aims of the world’s worst regimes, chiefly China and Russia,” he said in a statement. “The President’s lack of strategic understanding of this issue increases our response time and hinders the important deterrent work our servicemen and women are doing.”

Updated at 4:07 p.m.

Tags Ben Sasse Coronavirus Donald Trump Donald Trump Mitt Romney Nebraska Pat Toomey Paul Ryan payroll tax relief bill Trump tweets Unemployment

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