Sasse: Trump's rhetoric on Ford 'wrong' but not surprising
© Greg Nash

GOP Sen. Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseManufacturing group leads coalition to urge Congress to reauthorize Ex-Im Bank The Hill's Morning Report - Trump ousts Bolton; GOP exhales after win in NC Trump endorses Sasse in 2020 race MORE (Neb.) on Wednesday night became the latest Republican senator to distance himself from President TrumpDonald John TrumpTed Cruz knocks New York Times for 'stunning' correction on Kavanaugh report US service member killed in Afghanistan Pro-Trump website edited British reality star's picture to show him wearing Trump hat MORE's rhetoric about Christine Blasey Ford, the first woman to publicly accuse Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault.

Sasse — during an emotional floor speech on the "Me Too" movement and sexual assault — said the president is unable to lead the country through the deeply partisan fight over Kavanaugh because of his divisive rhetoric.

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"We all know that the president cannot lead us through this time. We know that he's dispositionally unable to restrain his impulse to divide us. His mockery of Dr. Ford last night in Mississippi was wrong but it doesn't really surprise anyone, it's who he is," Sasse said from the Senate floor.

Sasse is among several GOP senators who have sought to distance themselves from Trump's rhetoric during a rally Tuesday in Mississippi. Trump launched into a mocking imitation of Ford, who alleges that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a high school party in the early 1980s. 

"'How did you get home?'" Trump said, to cheers from the crowd. "'I don't remember.' 'How'd you get there?' 'I don't remember.' 'Where is the place?' I don't remember.' 'How many years ago was it?' 'I don't know.'" 

The president appeared to deride Ford's testimony last week before the Senate Judiciary Committee in which she said she could not remember all of the details about the night of her alleged assault, but said she was sure Kavanaugh had assaulted her.

Sasse added that Trump's comments last week in which he questioned why Ford didn't report the incident when it happened were "wrong," and said the notion that women are to blame for being assaulted because they've been drinking was "repugnant."

"It was wrong when people insinuate that a woman bears blame for her sexual assault because she was drunk. ...This kind of repugnant nonsense creates excuses for abusers," Sasse added. "I don't want anyone telling those poisonous lies to my daughters."

Sasse appeared to choke up throughout his speech, his voice noticeably tightening as he discussed sexual assault victims. The GOP senator also repeatedly sniffled as he delivered his speech.

He noted that the country needs a "reckoning" for its epidemic of sexual assaults.

"My view is that the Me Too movement is going to make some mistakes, it's going to have some excesses, but overall it's been an important and a needed development," Sasse said.

He also took a swipe at his colleagues who say the movement shouldn't be "co-opted by the cynics who run this town."

"Their stories are not fodder for fundraising emails. The Me Too movement doesn't belong to the left or the right," Sasse said.