Trump slams Republican critic who warned of November ‘bloodbath’

Updated 21 Oct 2020

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U. President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Muskegon County Airport in Muskegon, Michigan US on  October 17. — Reuters
U. President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Muskegon County Airport in Muskegon, Michigan US on October 17. — Reuters

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump on Saturday 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 Nov 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 87pc of the time, according to a tally of votes through Sept 24 by the fivethirtyeight.com website.

Senate Republicans are battling to keep their 53-47 majority in the election. Recent polling by Reuters/Ipsos 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 $58 million during the three-month period ended Sept 30, more than twice the $28 million reported by Graham’s campaign.

Democratic candidates in nine hotly contested Senate races amassed more than $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.

Women’s rallies draw thousands

Thousands of protesters marched in Washington and elsewhere in the United States on Saturday to protest Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee and to call for his defeat in the November 3 election.

The rallies, which organisers said were taking place in all 50 states, were inspired by the first Women’s March in Washington, a huge anti-Trump rally held a day after his 2017 inauguration.

But in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the demonstrations on Saturday were considerably smaller.

Organisers urged people worried about in-person participation to join in a “socially distant text-banking telethon” aimed at sending five million messages encouraging people to vote.

Marchers also paid tribute to late Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — an icon for women and progressives — while protesting Trump’s choice of conservative judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace her.

The parade route in Washington started near the White House before heading to the US Capitol and then to the National Mall.

Some protesters were heading afterward to the Supreme Court building, where a smaller “I’m With Her” counterprotest — in Barrett’s favour — was scheduled.

Most marchers in Washington wore protective masks, with some dressed as Ginsburg in black robes with white lace collars, and several wore the knitted pink hats made famous by the original march.

Their signs and banners underscored the broader anti-Trump message: “Trump/Pence: Out Now,” read one, while others simply said, “Dump Trump.” In New York City, around 300 people gathered at Manhattan’s Washington Square, many with pink hats and signs supporting Trump’s Democratic opponents Joe Biden and Kamala Harris or honoring Ginsburg. It was one of five separate marches in the city.

“It’s really important to be here and try to encourage people to vote out Trump and his misogynistic policies, especially now, with Covid, when a lot of people are isolated,” said Yvonne Shackleton, a 47-year-old working mother from near Albany, about a three-hour drive from New York City.

Published in Dawn, October 18th, 2020