Sasse: GOP Being Destroyed From Within by Conspiracy Theories Senator Ben Sasse,R-Neb.,, speaks during the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) 2016. (Saul Lobe/AFP via Getty Images)
Sunday, 17 January 2021 08:21 AM
The Republican Party must repudiate the conspiracy theories like QAnon or “be consumed by them,” Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., warned in commentary urging the GOP to “rebuild itself” in the wake of the deadly storming of the U.S. Capitol and troubled end to the Trump administration.
In a stern admonition to the party posted by The Atlantic, Sasse took on the radical thinking on both the right and left of politics and the media.
“The violence that Americans witnessed — and that might recur in the coming days — is not a protest gone awry or the work of ‘a few bad apples,’” he warned. “It is the blossoming of a rotten seed that took root in the Republican Party some time ago and has been nourished by treachery, poor political judgment, and cowardice.”
“When [President Donald] Trump leaves office, my party faces a choice: We can dedicate ourselves to defending the Constitution and perpetuating our best American institutions and traditions, or we can be a party of conspiracy theories, cable-news fantasies, and the ruin that comes with them.
“We can be the party of Eisenhower, or the party of the conspiracist Alex Jones. We can applaud [Capitol Police] Officer [Eugene] Goodman or side with the mob he outwitted. We cannot do both.”
Goodman was pictured on video leading a mob away from the Senate chamber during the Jan. 6 siege, chased by a man wearing a shirt with the QAnon theory logo. The FBI has identified the man as Douglas Jensen, who “wanted to have his T-shirt seen on video so that ‘Q’ could ‘get the credit,’” Sasse noted.
“Until last week, many party leaders and consultants thought they could preach the Constitution while winking at QAnon. They can’t. The GOP must reject conspiracy theories or be consumed by them. Now is the time to decide what this party is about,” he wrote.
He also lashed out at House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., for not disavowing freshman Georgia GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene's campaign, calling her "cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs."
“McCarthy failed the leadership test and sat on the sidelines," rather than trying to “keep a lid on her ludicrous ideas,” including her plan to bring articles of impeachment against President-elect Joe Biden the day after this inauguration.
“If the GOP is to have a future outside the fever dreams of internet trolls, we have to call out falsehoods and conspiracy theories unequivocally. We have to repudiate people who peddle those lies,” Sasse wrote.
He also blasted “traditional media outlets” that are “collapsing as the digital revolution erodes geographic communities in favor of placeless ones.”
“Republicans must repudiate the nonsense that has set our party on fire. Republican Party does, it faces an ugly fight,” he wrote. “The fracture that so many politicians on the right have been trying desperately to avoid may soon happen.”
He called for the party “to rebuild itself” and “offer a genuine answer to the frustrations of the past decade.”