Sasse in 2015. Photo via AP

Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, who previously made a lot of loud noises about being anti-Trump, is now wondering why nobody is reporting on “paid rioting” against the President-elect. That’s because it’s not real, Ben.

Sasse tweeted this today from his personal account:

As the thousands of you who may have recently attended the protests will know, there’s zero evidence that they are faked, manufactured, or paid for, but Donald Trump would like you think that they are. He actually took the line that they’re both paid for and “incited by the media,” which makes no sense:

It’s clear why Trump would insist that the protests are illegitimate—he’s disturbingly insecure—but it’s less clear where Sasse is going here. He was a loud and proud Never Trumper for several seconds there, writing in a Facebook post in February “Mr. Trump’s relentless focus is on dividing Americans, and on tearing down rather than building back up this glorious nation.”


Shortly after his election, Sasse wrote a reasonable editorial saying that while he didn’t support him during the election, he was praying for Trump’s success. He called for a return to civility and for everybody to find a middle ground. Fine. So what’s going on with this weird conspiratorial focus?

Sasse has adopted a Trump tactic, perhaps without realizing it: the “just asking questions” model, where you can advance a noxious or ridiculous viewpoint without offering any evidence. Asking people to prove a negative (that they’re not being paid by, I don’t know, Hillary Clinton?) is equally impossible, but that’s not the point of this exercise, is it?


When Sasse got some pushback, he switched gears and started talking about “astroturfing” which is not really the same thing at all.


More reporting is needed on a thing that there is no evidence exists, outside of Donald Trump’s deranged tweets.