Former Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) formally resigned from the Senate on Sunday, leaving behind a tenure that was frequently characterized by his opposition to former President Trump.
On his way out of Washington, Sasse excoriated the politics in the city for performances designed for cameras and a 24-hour news cycle.
“When we’re being honest with each other, which usually means when on one of the very rare occasions where cameras aren’t present, we all know that a big chunk of the performative yelling that happens here and in every hearing room is just about being booked for even more performative yelling at night on TV,” Sasse said in his farewell speech on the Senate floor on Jan. 3.
Sasse was one of a few Republicans who voted to convict Trump in his second impeachment trial in the Senate after the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol. Sasse is leaving the Senate just two years into his second term.
Sasse’s contentious relationship with Trump, and by extension many Republican voters, is something he was acutely aware of, nodding to the fragile arrangement in his farewell address.
“Our wrestling together, Nebraskans and me, over the last eight years has had some marked ups and downs, as you gave me victories in all 93 counties … and then made me the most censured public official in the history of Nebraska over the next six years, but then proceeded two years ago to reelect me again,” Sasse said. “Many times it felt like a noogie and a slap and a head butt and a hug all at once.”
Nebraska’s newly elected Republican governor, Jim Pillen, will be tasked with naming Sasse’s replacement in the chamber. His replacement will serve a two-year term before a special election in 2024.
Sasse is set to become president of the University of Florida, and is slotted to make a salary of $1 million.