U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse continues to deal with the fallout from his appearance on the HBO show Real Time with Bill Maher in which the host used the “n-word.”
Sasse appeared on the show to promote his book The Vanishing American Adult.
Maher had remarked he needed to get out to Nebraska and Sasse responded he would love to have Maher work in the fields with him.
“Work in the fields? Senator, I’m a house n—-r,” Maher responded.
Sasse has been criticized for not reacting more forcefully to the use of the racial slur.
Sasse tells Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KFAB the comment took him totally by surprise.
“You are way out on a stage, sort of in the middle of a crowd,” Sasse says. “It is loud and you don’t have an earpiece so for a minute, or I don’t know three beats, I’m just trying to figure out did he really say that. Then I was just stunned. I expected that he was going to jump on me with a bunch of stuff but obviously I hadn’t expected anything like that and so by the time I was able to reflect on it the moment had passed and he was hitting me on climate change.”
Sasse says it wasn’t until he was back on a plane that he thought about what he should of said.
“The historian in me feels like part of my job is to teach civics and that is a reprehensible word for a whole bunch of particular historical reasons because it is saying we don’t have universal human dignity so I wish I would have pushed back in that moment but I missed that moment,” according to Sasse.