GOP Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska officially vacated his seat in Congress on Sunday to take up a position as President of the University of Florida.
Sasse was among them seven Republican senators who voted in his second impeachment trial to convict former President Donald Trump of inciting the January 6, 2021 Capitol raid.
The former lawmaker, who stepped down two years into his second term, acknowledges that his opposition to Trump at various points in the Republican presidency will likely be what he is most remembered for.
“Sasse never endorsed Trump when he first ran for office in 2016. In fact, Trump was on the ballot both times, Sasse says he wrote on behalf of Trump’s running mate Mike Pence instead.” Omaha World Herald reported.
Sasse did not vote to convict Trump in the first impeachment trial in early 2020 in connection with a July 2019 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The then-senator noted that Ukraine ultimately received its military aid without opening an investigation into Joe Biden and son Hunter’s dealings in the country, as Trump had requested.
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The new UF president snapped some farewell photos of Trump in his World Herald interview and said the 45th president was a “needy and desperate” person.
“I’m just sad for him as a person because obviously there’s a lot of complicated things going on in that soul,” Sasse said.
“Only on a human level am I sad that he is so needy and desperate. But on a political level, I always thought it was great that he kept his word to the judges. … And so we had to work closely with the judges.”
According to the World-Herald, Sasse voted with Trump 85 percent of the time.
After his vote to impeach Trump, the Nebraska Republican Party stopped censuring him but passed a resolution criticizing the senator.
And here is the language of the final resolution: pic.twitter.com/1a0QUkhAx1
— Aaron Sanderford (@asanderford) February 27, 2021
Its February 2021 resolution concluded: “It is therefore resolved now that the Central Committee of the Nebraska Republican Party expresses its deep disappointment and sadness regarding the service of Senator Ben Sasse and calls for an immediate realignment in which he the people of Nebraska represent Washington and not Washington to the people of Nebraska and are rebuked.”
After CNNPrior to his election to the Senate in 2014, Sasse was president of Midland University — a private Lutheran liberal arts college with about 1,600 students in Fremont, Nebraska.
The Nebrascan has an impressive academic background, graduating from Harvard University and earning a Ph.D. in Yale’s American history.
Sasse told the World-Herald he’s been “haunted by a lot of universities” in recent years and has turned down all offers, but the Florida spot is too good to pass up.
UF has an enrollment of over 60,000 students.
“South Florida is like a giant blank canvas,” he said. “So I’m very excited about a lot of the new stuff we’re going to build.”
It is not clear what he was referring to. The UF campus is located in the north Florida city of Gainesville.
Sasse’s departure from the Senate will not change his balance of power, where Democrats hold a 51-49 lead.
Nebraska’s newly sworn GOP Gov. Jim Pillen has promised to appoint a replacement by the time the Senate is reconvened on Jan. 23. Whoever is chosen will serve for two years, with a special election in November 2024 determining who will complete Sasse’s term.
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Former Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts, who was replaced by Pills last week, is believed to be one top candidate.
Trump appears to have a mixed relationship with Ricketts.
The former president called the then-governor a RINO for campaigning to get Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp re-elected in May 2022.
Ricketts also backed Pills because of Trump’s election in the Nebraska governor Charles Herbster race.
— Brent D Griffiths (@BrentGriffiths) May 11, 2022
https://www.westernjournal.com/anti-trump-gop-member-abandons-senate-seat-midterm-leaving-key-opening-special-election/ Anti-Trump GOP member gives up Senate seat at mid-term, leaving key opening for special election