WASHINGTON, Oct 18 — US President Donald Trump yesterday attacked a longtime congressional critic who warned this week that his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and authoritarian leaders could cause a “Republican bloodbath in the Senate” in the November 3 elections.
US Senator Ben Sasse is the least effective of the 53 Republican senators, Trump wrote on Twitter, calling him “a liability to the Republican Party, and an embarrassment to the Great State of Nebraska. Other than that, he’s just a wonderful guy.”
Sasse criticised Trump in a town hall with constituents on Wednesday, and questioned whether the president would ultimately drive the country further to the left.
Trump “kisses dictators’ butts” and has “flirted with white supremacists,” according to a transcript of the virtual town hall. Trump’s leadership through the Covid-19 pandemic has not been “reasonable, or responsible, or right,” Sasse said.
He added that Trump refused to take the coronavirus seriously for months and had treated it like a news cycle rather that a multi-year public health challenge.
Sasse is a frequent critic of Trump, and said before the 2016 election he would not endorse him. However, he has voted in line with Trump’s positions in Congress nearly 87 per cent of the time, according to a tally of votes through September 24 by the fivethirtyeight.com website.
Senate Republicans are battling to keep their 53-47 majority in the election. Recent polling shows Democratic challenger Mark Kelly pulling far ahead of Republican incumbent Martha McSally in Arizona, one of 10 states where Republican incumbents are vulnerable to being unseated.
Several, including Trump’s frequent golfing partner Senator Lindsey Graham, face funding shortfalls. Democrat Jaime Harrison who is running against Graham in South Carolina, has raised nearly US$58 million (RM240.7 million) during the three-month period ended September 30, more than twice the US$28 million reported by Graham’s campaign.
Democratic candidates in nine hotly contested Senate races amassed more than US$240 million in contributions during that period, leaving their Republican opponents far behind in fundraising.
This week Graham expressed worries that Trump, who is behind Democratic candidate Joe Biden in many polls, could lose.
“Y’all have a good chance of winning the White House,” Graham told Democratic colleagues during hearings for Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. — Reuters