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Douglas County GOP to take up Sasse censure after Trump impeachment vote

Douglas County GOP to take up Sasse censure after Trump impeachment vote

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Trump Impeachment (copy)

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., walks during a break in the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump at the Capitol.

Nebraska's U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse, with his vote to convict former President Donald Trump of inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, may have crossed a line with some Omaha-area Republicans.

The Douglas County Republican Party will take up a resolution on Tuesday to censure and rebuke the Fremont senator.

Earlier this month, several county parties passed censure resolutions to express their anger at Sasse for his repeated criticisms of Trump. But Republicans in the state's most populous county have not weighed in, in part to preserve the perception of GOP unity.

The recent move by the Douglas County GOP comes on the heels of Sasse's Feb. 13 vote, along with six other Republicans, to convict Trump of inciting the insurrection. Trump was acquitted, with 57 votes to convict. Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., was one of 43 senators who voted to acquit Trump.

The draft language of the Douglas County resolution, which was confirmed by The World-Herald, says Sasse "betrayed his constituents and supporters" and described the incitement charge against Trump as "baseless and flawed." 

The resolution criticizes Sasse for holding Trump responsible for inciting the mob that stormed the Capitol, leaving at least five people dead. And it criticizes the senator for saying Trump flirted with white supremacists. 

The resolution also chastises Sasse for critiquing Tump's response to the coronavirus pandemic. And it accuses Sasse of lying about the president for selfish reasons, which are not described, and for failing to represent the GOP and its voters.

Sasse spokesman James Wegmann, reached on Friday, called the censure proposal "unsurprising."

Sasse earned more votes than Trump in Douglas County last fall, receiving 136,745 votes while Trump received 119,159. However, Sasse's opponent in the November election, Democrat Chris Janicek, was disavowed by the Nebraska Democratic Party.

Christian Mirch, chair of the Douglas County Republican Party, confirmed Friday that the party will consider a pair of resolutions submitted by local Republicans, one to censure Sasse and the other to honor conservative broadcaster Rush Limbaugh, who died this week.

Mirch said he understands many Republicans are frustrated with Sasse’s recent actions and want an outlet to voice that frustration, short of waiting six years for another election. He said he will not prevent a vote on the censure resolution.

“I believe our membership should vote on resolutions and make their voices heard,” he said, adding that he supports the measure honoring Limbaugh. “Regardless of this vote, we must move forward as a united party and focus on the major threat to our republic: radical far-left policies.”

GOP activists have passed similar resolutions against Sasse in suburban Sarpy County, North Platte's Lincoln County, Scottsbluff's Scotts Bluff County and rural Keith and Hitchcock Counties.

Sasse will face a censure vote when the Nebraska Republican Party's central committee meets Feb. 27 in Columbus. The meeting was originally scheduled for Feb. 13 but was postponed due to weather.

Sasse has defended his statements about Trump as truthful. 

In a video message in response to the censure effort, Sasse said earlier this month that "personality cults aren’t conservative. Conspiracy theories aren’t conservative. Lying that an election has been stolen isn’t conservative."

"I listen to Nebraskans every day," Sasse said in the video. "Political addicts don’t represent most Nebraska conservatives."

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