Momentum building in Nebraska to censure anti-Trump U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse

Sasse dismisses criticism, suggesting it is driven by the 'weird worship of one dude.'

Republican Party committees in three Nebraska counties have endorsed censuring U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse for his criticism of former President Donald Trump, setting up a vote later this month in the state GOP.

The GOP committee in Sarpy County, the state's most populous Republican-leaning enclave, voted late last week to join the effort. The Republican State Central Committee is slated to take up the censure Feb. 13.

“Sasse says he’s just here to defend the Constitution, but Sarpy Republicans feel like people are trampling on the Constitution all the time,” said Robert Anthony, a Papillion, Neb., resident who supported the Sarpy County censure measure, according to an Omaha World Herald report.

The movement in Nebraska come as Wyoming Republicans overwhelmingly voted Saturday to censure Rep. Liz Cheney, the No. 3 Republican in the House, for voting in favor of Trump’s impeachment. Only eight of the state GOP’s central committee’s 74 members stood to oppose the measure.

Sasse, who was easily re-elected in November to another six-year term in the Senate, dismissed the effort in Nebraska a five-minute videotaped response, saying state Republicans are "welcome" to censure him. But he argued the dispute is not about the Constitution or his voting record but rather the "weird worship of one dude." 

"Let's be clear, the anger in this state party has never been about me violating principle or abandoning conservative policy. I'm one of the most conservative voters in the Senate," Sasse said. "The anger's always been simply about me not bending the knee to one guy. Personality cults aren’t conservative. Conspiracy theories aren’t conservative. Lying that an election has been stolen is not conservative."

Gov. Pete Ricketts said Friday he knows many Nebraska Republicans are angry and urged them to reach out to Sasse's office. But he also defended the senator for his conservative voting record.

Mostly symbolic censure efforts against anti-Trump figures in the GOP have been growing. Arizona's Republican Party voted to censure Gov. Doug Ducey and Cindy McCain, the widow of Sen. John McCain, while the South Carolina GOP voted to chastise Rep. Tom Rice for his vote to impeach Trump in January.