WASHINGTON — Sen. Ben Sasse announced Sunday that he will not vote for Donald Trump in November, even if the billionaire businessman is his party’s presidential nominee.
The Nebraska Republican announced his position in “an open letter to Trump supporters” posted online late Sunday.
“A presidential candidate who boasts about what he’ll do during his ‘reign’ and refuses to condemn the KKK cannot lead a conservative movement in America,” Sasse wrote.
If the GOP and Democratic nominees in November are Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sasse wrote, then he would look for another candidate.
“I sincerely hope we select one of the other GOP candidates, but if Donald Trump ends up as the GOP nominee, conservatives will need to find a third option,” Sasse wrote.
Sasse devoted a chunk of his statement to refuting suggestions that he is a part of the “establishment” or a “career politician.” And he defended the validity of abandoning the Republican nominee.
“If our Party is no longer working for the things we believe in – like defending the sanctity of life, stopping ObamaCare, protecting the Second Amendment, etc. — then people of good conscience should stop supporting that party until it is reformed,” Sasse wrote.
He noted that the president is supposed to preserve the Constitution and pointed to a slew of Trump quotes, including the businessman saying that he wants to “open up the libel laws” and praising Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Sasse wrote that he’s not the only one ready to abandon the GOP ship if Trump gets the nomination.
“I do not claim to speak for a movement, but I suspect I am far from alone,” Sasse wrote. “After listening to Nebraskans in recent weeks, and talking to a great many people who take oaths seriously, I think many are in the same place.”
Sasse is taking a different approach than his fellow Nebraska Republican, Sen. Deb Fischer.
Fischer has endorsed Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., in the presidential race and has disagreed with some of Trump’s statements. But she also has said that she will support the winner of the Republican nomination.