GOP Sen. Ben Sasse's sassy week criticizing Donald Trump

Even though Ben Sasse and President Donald Trump are both Republicans, the Nebraska senator has been very clear he do...

Posted: Mar. 2, 2018 1:59 PM
Updated: Mar. 2, 2018 1:59 PM

Even though Ben Sasse and President Donald Trump are both Republicans, the Nebraska senator has been very clear he doesn't agree with many of the decisions the President has made this week.

In at least three separate statements, Sasse slammed Trump on his statements about guns and gun control measures, his decision to introduce steel and aluminum tariffs, and his statement that "trade wars are good."

Sasse has been a long-time critic of the President, but his comments this week highlight how the unorthodox GOP President's public statements have broken with traditional Republican policy position.

The most recent example came Friday, after Trump said trade wars can be good, even though his promise of steel and aluminum tariffs rattled markets.

"When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win," Trump wrote on Twitter.

Sasse responded, saying "trade wars are lost by both sides."

"Trade wars are never won. Trade wars are lost by both sides," he said in a statement Friday. "Make no mistake: If the President goes through with this, it will kill American jobs -- that's what every trade war ultimately does. So much losing."

After Trump announced Thursday his administration will impose those tariffs on steel imports starting next week, Sasse in a separate statement slammed the decision as something Americans would expect from a "leftist administration," not a Republican commander in chief.

"Let's be clear: The President is proposing a massive tax increase on American families. Protectionism is weak, not strong," he said. "You'd expect a policy this bad from a leftist administration, not a supposedly Republican one."

During a bipartisan meeting Wednesday with lawmakers to discuss school safety and gun measures, Trump said it might be better in some cases to allow law enforcement to confiscate weapons from potentially disturbed individuals before allowing due process.

"Take the gun first, go through due process second," Trump said.

Sasse, who was not at the bipartisan meeting, blasted Trump's statement.

"We're not ditching any constitutional protections simply because the last person the President talked to today doesn't like them," he said.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNN. After Trump met with leaders of the National Rifle Association Thursday night, the executive director of the group's lobbying arm tweeted that the President and Vice President Mike Pence "support the Second Amendment, support strong due process and don't want gun control."

Sasse has been a frequent critic of Trump, often slamming decisions the White House has made as not conservative. Last July, Sasse criticized Trump on CNN's "State of the Union" for his attacks on the news media, saying he is concerned about the danger of "weaponizing distrust" that can harm the freedoms that define a democracy.

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