USA

Sasse responds to Trump: 'America doesn't have kings'

Sen. Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseWhite House officials, Democrats spar over legality, substance of executive orders Kudlow acknowledges executive orders may end up in court: 'We're going to go ahead with our actions anyways' Several GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders MORE (R-Neb.) on Monday defended his opposition to President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump suggests some states may 'pay nothing' as part of unemployment plan Trump denies White House asked about adding him to Mount Rushmore Trump, US face pivotal UN vote on Iran MORE's use of executive orders to address the coronavirus pandemic, hours after the president publicly called the GOP senator out over his criticism.

Sasse — in a note tweeted from his campaign account and signed "Gym Rat" — indicated he would rather have the discussion privately with Trump but added "since you moved our conversation from private to public, here we are."

"On the topic that had you mad this weekend: No president — whether named Obama or Trump or Biden or AOC — has unilateral power to rewrite immigration law or to cut taxes or to raise taxes. This is because America doesn't have kings," Sasse wrote.

The message from Sasse, which appears to have been written on the iPhone Notes app, comes after Trump lashed out at him via Twitter on Monday morning. Trump accused the senator of having "gone rouge" when he sharply criticized the president's executive action aimed at providing coronavirus aid in lieu of a congressional deal.

"RINO Ben Sasse, who needed my support and endorsement in order to get the Republican nomination for Senate from the GREAT State of Nebraska, has, now that he’s got it (Thank you President T), gone rogue, again," Trump tweeted. "This foolishness plays right into the hands of the Radical Left Dems!"

Trump signed a series of executive orders over the weekend to unilaterally extend enhanced unemployment benefits, defer payroll tax collection and offer assistance on rent and student loan payments.

Sasse, in his statement over the weekend, referred to the move as "unconstitutional slop."

"President Obama did not have the power to unilaterally rewrite immigration law with DACA, and President Trump does not have the power to unilaterally rewrite the payroll tax law," Sasse said, referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Sasse, in his statement on Monday, also took issue with Trump's characterization that he needed Trump's "support and endorsement" in order to win his party's nomination earlier this year. Sasse, who first won election in 2014, is running for reelection. His race is rated as "Solid R" by The Cook Political Report. 

"I understand you've been frustrated that I didn't join your re-election committee & that I ran a primary ad admitting to Nebraskans that we sometimes agree and sometimes disagree. You also know I never asked for your endorsement nor did I use it in the campaign," Sasse wrote.

Sasse included a link to his campaign ad, titled "Straight Shooter," where the narrator says Sasse "ticked off a lot of folks these past six years ... every now and then even the president from his own party." 

Sasse added on Monday that his disagreements with Trump weren't "personal."

"You also know that I've never asked you for anything personal," Sasse said. "I have pleaded with you but for bigger things like better U.S. policy on the Chinese Communist Party — and on this, you've done a very good job."

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