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Ben Sasse: I think about leaving the GOP 'every morning when I wake up

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Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) confirmed to the media Sunday that he often considers leaving the Republican Party and becoming an Independent. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

GOP Sen. Ben Sasse (Neb.) confirmed to the media on Sunday that he mulls leaving the Republican Party almost every day, after tweeting last week that he "regularly" considers becoming an independent.

What are the details?

On Saturday, Twitter user Stephanie Pickens brought up the issue to Sasse, posting to his feed: "I switched my party from Democrat [to] no-party this week as I see that to be part of the solution. Have you considered following suit?"

Sasse responded, "Yep — regularly consider it. (Except the 'from Dem' part)."

On Sunday, Sasse expressed his disdain for both the Democratic and Republican parties to CNN's "State of the Union" anchor Jake Tapper.

"I've been saying for a long time that these parties need to reform and have a future-focused vision, and we're not there yet," he told the host.

"Why stay a Republican? And when's the last time you thought about becoming an independent?" Tapper asked.

Sasse admitted, "I probably think about it every morning when I wake up and I figure out, why — why am I flying away from Nebraska to go to D.C. this week? Are we going to get real stuff done?"

The senator added that he is "committed to the party of Lincoln and Reagan as long as there's a chance to reform it. But this party used to be for some pretty definable stuff. And, frankly, neither of these parties are for very much more than being anti."

Sasse then hit out at the Trump administration, telling the host, "It's pretty obvious when you are engaging with the White House, as I do many, many times a week, there is a lot of chaos and a lot of reality TV circus and that is different than a long-term view."

Sen. Sasse told Tapper that the 2016 election was a "dumpster fire," saying, "Both (Trump and Hillary Clinton) went into the election mostly being against the other one, and the American people basically said, 'A pox on your houses,' and then they decided who to vote for who was less bad, in their view."

"We shouldn't have elections like that in the future," Sasse added.

Responding to whether or not he would challenge President Trump in 2020, Sasse said, "I think the odds are a lot higher that I run for the Noxious Weed Control Board of Dodge County, Nebraska, than that."



Speaking to NBC's "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd the same morning, Sasse further criticized the drama surrounding the Trump administration.

"You know, I don't have any desire to beat the president up, but it's pretty clear that this White House is a reality show, soap opera presidency,"  he said.

Anything else?

Sasse — who holds a doctorate in American History from Yale University — used his speaking time during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week to rebuke the legislative branch over the "hysteria" surrounding the consideration of Supreme Court nominees.

During a hearing considering Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Sasse called the process an "overblown, politicized circus" and asserted that it was such because "Congress has decided to self-neuter."

Sasse went on to explain, "We need a Congress that passes laws and suffers the consequences that people get to hire and fire the Congress. We need an executive branch that tries to execute the laws that've been passed and we need judges who judge and not try to be super legislators. And most people in Congress seem to have forgotten."



This piece has been updated.

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