Sen. Ben Sasse on the controversial New York Times op-ed written by someone in the self-described resistance within the Trump administration.
HUGH HEWITT, HOST: Joined by Ben Sasse, Senator from Nebraska. Senator, welcome back. A quick question – what do you make of the anonymous op-ed in the New York Times?
SEN. BEN SASSE (R-NEBRASKA): You know, I don’t know how to talk about it, yet. I mean honestly, I’m still processing it. It’s just so similar to what so many of us hear from senior people around the White House, you know, three times a week. So it’s really troubling, and yet in a way, not surprising. And I get, again, I want to be cautious, because I’m still processing it, but I think two things, morally. First, I think there are lots of really, really good people around the President who are trying to restrain his impulsiveness and his just regular lack of reflection on the long-term implications of different issues. And so I think it’s a very moral act to love your country, and frankly try to care about Donald Trump with all the challenges that every human has, but his are kind of unique. I think it’s a good way to serve your neighbor to stay in the administration even when you’re worried. I don’t understand the morality of why anyone would write the piece, because it seems pretty obvious to me that what it’s going to do is foster more paranoia. I mean, the team at the White House, again, lots of really good people there, but the team at the White House doesn’t work together well. They’re infighting all the time. And that starts at the top. And I think publishing something like this only makes that worse. So I wish whoever it was wouldn’t have done it, but I think that the stuff that’s in it is frankly not surprising to those of us who are trying to help the White House stay on track most days, because this is what you hear from two-thirds of the senior people there.
HH: I agree with that. I made that point on Meet the Press Daily last night. When you have a mercurial president, the way to make him less mercurial, if that’s your goal, is not to plant an anonymous op-ed in the New York Times slamming him as unbalanced and maybe in need of the 25th Amendment. That’s not the way to get what you want. So I question the motive.
BS: I do, too. I think that the ultimate decision to publish feels self-serving, and so for the sake of public trust, I think if somebody wants to talk about the 25th Amendment, they ought to do it in public. I think it’s obvious that what happens now in a world where we don’t really debate very much the actual substance of where the country’s going, I get why someone who might think about publishing it in their own name would know that then, they become the whole story, and it’s where they came from and what grievance they’re supposedly harboring, and what moment they flirted with voting for Bill Clinton in 1992 so they shouldn’t be trusted. And so I think there are arguments for not wanting to do it in your own name, but I ultimately think you know, if you want a White House with more big cause/low ego people working there, and you know that that has to start at the top, the last thing you really would want to do is try to have the President spend the next you know, 72 hours panicked, running around doing an interrogation of everybody. But I mean, the drama of this op-ed, the drama of the Woodward book, the drama of the Omarosa tapes, the drama of Cohen, the drama of Manifort, the drama of just the three-ring circus that is the White House almost every day, I think that it exhausts the American people. And I know that the founders would regard anything like this as you know, really unhelpful. You don’t run the country as a soap opera. And these people, most of them who are wanting the drama, shouldn’t be anywhere near the presidency. And so most of the fighting that he, the President uses the word fighting all the time. But most of the fighting is inside his own team.