Republican Senate hopeful Ben Sasse speaks in Lincoln, Neb., Tuesday, May 13, 2014, after winning his party's primary election. A crowd of Republican candidates jockeyed to succeed Nebraska's outgoing governor and senior U.S. senator in a busy primary election where voters also were set to select nominees for three other vacant offices. (AP Photo)

Early Festivus: Iowa GOP Chair Airs Grievances With Sasse

Festivus has come early in Iowa, at least the “airing of grievances” portion, with state GOP chairman Jeff Kauffman unleashing an odd rant against Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, before a Trump rally in Cedar Rapids.

According to Politico, a “a visibly chafed Kaufmann announced that he needed to get some things off his chest and proceeded to spend most of his time berating the president’s critics in the media and on the left.”

Then, he went after Sasse:

We had Sen. Ben Sasse from Nebraska, he crosses the Missouri River, and in that sanctimonious tone talks about what he doesn’t like about Donald Trump,” Kaufmann said. “You know what, Sen. Sasse? I really don’t care what you like. We love Donald Trump. And if you don’t love him, I suggest you stay on your side of the Missouri River.

What prompted the tirade?  After Trump’s speech, Kaufman admitted to an interviewer that “his anger with Sasse had been bottled up since the pre-caucus period last year and said the senator had done nothing specific recently to aggravate him.”

The Sasse hatred among Trump loyalists is bizarre.   Some #NeverTrump advocates like Evan McMullin have opted to be permanently anti-Trump, but Sasse isn’t in that camp.   While Sasse was an open critic of Trump during the primaries and the general election, he has been eager to stand with the President and support him when they are in agreement, (see Gorsuch, Neil).   But for some Trump loyalists, any disagreement with the President, during the primary, or in the present day, constitutes political treason.   It is a standard conservatives have never had for other Presidents.  Reagan, and both Bush’s were routinely criticized by the right, when there was a policy or tactical disagreement.  But Trump, whose personal character and conservative credentials are dubious at best, must not be questioned.

Senator Sasse hasn’t responded to Kauffman’s tirade yet, though there are rumors of a Sasse sponsored Nickelback concert in Kauffman’s home town, as retribution.

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Darrick Johnson

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