United States Senator Ben Sasse sparked a lot of talk when he told national media last weekend he thinks about leaving the Republican Party daily.
Sasse claims surprise about the stir his comments raised.
“My criticism of these two parties is more than a monthly occurrence over the last three years and why it got a little extra attention this weekend I’m not really sure,” Sasse tells Nebraska Radio Network in a phone interview from Washington, D.C.
It started with a Tweet.
Sasse, in a reply, stated he regularly considers leaving the Republican Party.
It continued with an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union when anchor Jake Tapper asked Sasse about the Tweet. Sasse replied he probably thinks about it every morning when he wakes up and asked himself why is he flying away from Nebraska and going to D.C.?
The YouTube video of the interview has registered more than 200,000 views.
Sasse calls himself an independent conservative who caucuses with Republicans.
When asked if he is considering leaving the Republican Party, Sasse shifts to talk of reform.
“I have said, going back 2 ½ years, that the party of Lincoln needs to go through an exercise and figure out what it’s for,” Sasse says.
Sasse criticizes both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party for lacking vision. He says they both focus too much on the short term and do not think long-term. Sasse says the Democratic Party has become a party of identity politics and group grievances. He says Republicans now are using similar language, trying to be a backlash of the Democrats’ politics.
Sasse says he and his wife are committed to serving in the United States Senate without regard to whether he plans to run for re-election in 2020. He says he plans to speak to Nebraska voters about his future next year.
Though not directly answering the question of whether he is considering leaving the Republican Party, Sasse does say he is committed to the party of Lincoln and Reagan.
“In the long term, this party needs to reform itself and I’m committed to working toward that end.”
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]