Joining the latest edition of POLITICO’s “Off Message” podcast, Nebraska Republican Sen. Ben Sasse said he has “lots of anxiety” about where the nation is headed under the Trump administration.
Sasse recently published a book titled “The Vanishing American Adult,” which decries the growing cultural trend of removing responsibility and self-reliance from American life.
The senator is no fan of the current president– and he hasn’t been shy about saying so.
Though Sasse made sure to point out that his new book is “100 percent not a political book,” he did offer some criticism of Trump during his conversation with POLITICO.
“He definitely comes from a world to the presidency that comes out of a reality TV world,” he said of the president. “And I have lots of anxiety about whether or not that kind of world is really what we want for our kids.”
Trump’s tendency to use short, exuberant language in speeches helped him gain favor with a growing population of people who are increasingly unwilling to read beyond headlines and catchphrases, Sasse suggested.
“There’s a risk in our media-driven, and particularly digital media-driven culture; TV-based, broadcast-based, and image-based culture of this digital moment,” he said. “There is a danger that we create shorter and shorter attention spans, more and more unbridled passions, less and less self-control and self-restraint. I don’t think that our Founders would believe that America could long prosper if the people were not readers.”
As for whether he believes Washington holds the answers to any of the nation’s biggest problems, Sasse doesn’t.
“Washington is just lame. Washington is incredibly ineffective,” he said. “Washington is weak…Washington is populated by people who aren’t very interesting. Washington isn’t the source of these problems … [it’s] right now a symptomatic echo of many of these problems.”
The nation’s lawmakers never seem to get anything done, he suggested, because they’re continually fighting the budget and issue battles of yesterday rather than focusing on problems in the future.
Asked what his own party stands for today, Sasse said simply: “I don’t know.”
Hear the entire podcast.
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