November 21, 2018
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Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse says he thinks about leaving the GOP ‘every morning’

Alex Brandon | AP
Alex Brandon | AP
Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Nebraska, questions President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, as he testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday for the third day of his confirmation hearing to replace retired Justice Anthony Kennedy.

WASHINGTON — Sen. Ben Sasse said Sunday morning that he probably thinks about leaving the Republican Party “every morning,” while decrying the way Republicans and Democrats get caught up in the political furors of the day instead of having a “long-term vision” for the country.

Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Sasse, R-Nebraska, said he considers himself an “independent conservative who caucuses with the Republicans.” But despite his misgivings, he said he is “committed to the party of Lincoln and Reagan as long as there is a chance to reform.”

Sasse said he backed many of President Donald Trump’s decisions when it comes to judicial nominations and regulatory changes. But he said the daily drama and tumult surrounding the White House are a distraction from many key issues facing the country, including its involvement in ongoing wars and cybersecurity concerns.

Last week, Sasse raised the issue of becoming an independent when he responded on Twitter to an Iowa woman who said she left the Democratic Party because she dislikes both the major parties.

“Yep – regularly consider it,” he tweeted back.

Sasse, a former president of Midland University, which lies west of Omaha, pointed out to CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday that he was just one of a few members of the Senate who has never been a politician before. And he said his disillusionment was directed at the entire political system, not just the GOP.

“The main thing the Democrats are for is being anti-Republican and anti-Trump,” he said. “The main thing Republicans are for is being anti-Democrat and anti-CNN. And neither of these things are really worth getting out of bed in the morning for.”

Asked whether he would run for president in 2020, he said he was more likely to run for the local “noxious weed control board.” But he didn’t completely rule out a White House run.

“We spend way too much time talking about campaigning,” he said.

Later, speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” he said the daily drama coming out of the White House was a “distraction.”

“I don’t have any desire to beat this president up, but it’s pretty clear that this White House is a reality-show, soap-opera presidency,” he said.

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