US President Donald Trump has laid into a Republican senator who called him a "TV-obsessed narcissist" who "spends like a drunken sailor".
Trump branded Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse "little Ben" in a series of tweets comparing him to other disloyal Republicans, including former Arizona Senate Republican Jeff "the Flake" Flake.
Sasses was the "least effective" of the 53 Republican senators, Trump charged, as well as a "liability" to the party and an "embarrassment" to his state. "Other than that, he’s just a wonderful guy!"
Trump called Sasse a "RINO" - Republican in Name Only - and suggested he was getting ready to quit - or else should be replaced by the party in his state.
The spat began on Thursday when the Washington Examiner reported a telephone conference with Nebraska constituents where Sasse, clearly worried by pollsters predicting a landslide for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, attacked Trump mercilessly.
The senator believed Trump was "likely" to lose to Biden on November 3 and could take Republican senators down with him, saying: "I think we are staring down the barrel of a blue tsunami and we’ve got to hold the Senate and that’s what I’m focused on.”
“What the heck were any of us thinking that selling a TV-obsessed narcissistic individual to the American people was a good idea? It is not a good idea," he said.
But Trump dismissed that pessimism about the election result.© REUTERS / CARLOS BARRIA
Sasse claimed the president had shown incompetence on the coronavirus pandemic, "kisses dictators' butts," "sells out our allies" - among whom he counted Chinese Uighur separatists and Hong Kong pro-democracy militants. He added that Trump spends taxpayers' money "like a drunken sailor" and has "flirted with white supremacists."
"I think the overwhelming reason that President Trump won in 2016 was simply because Hillary Clinton was literally the most unpopular candidate in the history of polling,” he concluded.