Trump slams GOP Sen. Sasse as 'RINO,' says he's 'gone rogue'

White House waiting to see what challenges may be brought against Trump’s executive orders on COVID-19 relief

John Roberts reports from the White House with an update.

President Trump slammed Ben Sasse Monday morning, calling him a "RINO" and claiming he's “gone rogue” after the GOP senator labeled his coronavirus economic relief executive actions "unconstitutional slop."

"RINO Ben Sasse, who needed my support and endorsement in order to get the Republican nomination for Senate from the GREAT State of Nebraska, has, now that he’s got it (Thank you President T), gone rogue, again," Trump tweeted.

“RINO” stands for Republican In Name Only.

“This foolishness plays right into the hands of the Radical Left Dems!” Trump added.


The president’s tweet criticizing Sasse, R-Neb., comes after he issued a statement in response to the executive actions Trump signed over the weekend in an attempt to break the stalemate in negotiations between Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill over the fourth coronavirus stimulus relief package.

“The pen-and-phone theory of executive lawmaking is unconstitutional slop,” Sasse said in a statement over the weekend. “President Obama did not have the power to unilaterally rewrite immigration law with DACA, and President Trump does not have the power to unilaterally rewrite the payroll tax law.”

FILE – Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., walks on Capitol Hill in Washington in this Sept. 27, 2018, file photo. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Sasse added: “Under the Constitution, that power belongs to the American people acting through their members of Congress.”

Trump's executive actions included $400 per week in supplemental unemployment aid — a replacement of the program passed under the CARES Act earlier this year that gave unemployed people $600 a week extra until the federal program expired at the end of July.

The action would require states to pay for 25 percent of the $400 weekly benefit, while the federal government would pick up 75 percent.

The $400 payment to unemployed Americans came as Republicans on Capitol Hill argued that the initial unemployment insurance program disincentivized Americans to get back to work, with many collecting more money unemployed than employed. Republicans pushed for the program to be reduced to $200 per week, while Democrats argued the program should be renewed at the original $600 a week.


The president also signed executive actions that would encourage federal efforts to help renters and homeowners avoid eviction or foreclosure for failing to make their monthly payments; defer the payroll tax from Sept. 1 to Dec. 31, 2020, for employees making $100,000 or less a year; and suspend federal student loan payments and set interest rates to 0% through Dec. 31, 2020 — the current student loan relief program was set to expire on Sept. 30.

Talks had been stuck for weeks, with Democrats demanding more than $3 trillion in the relief bill while Republicans struggled to eventually coalesce around a $1 trillion proposal. Pelosi on Thursday proposed the parties each give $1 trillion and pass a $2 trillion proposal, but Mnuchin said on Friday the idea was a "non-starter."

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