During an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt this Friday, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) was asked about his assessment of President Donald Trump's behavior and culpability in the run-up to and after the storming of the U.S. Capitol by a violent mob of Trump supporters on January 6.
Sasse said that the mob was "incited by the President of the United States," adding that Trump is "addicted to division."
"This is a deep brokenness in his soul. ... Donald Trump is a guy who hurts. And I hurt for him at an anthropological and a human level, but at a level of his oath of office to the Constitution, the duty of the president of the United States is to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution," Sasse said. "And the President is addicted to social media and to television, and to division, and he's been lying to the American people for eight straight weeks and planned it long before. No matter what was happening in any state, he was going to say the election was being stolen, and the people needed to rise up."
Sasse stressed the fact that Trump "said repeatedly to 'go wild' when you get to the Capitol" during a Wednesday morning address to his supporters.
"I think Donald Trump wanted there to be massive divisions, and he was telling people there was a path by which he was going to stay in office after January 20th," he said. "That was never true. And he wanted chaos on television. I don't have any idea what was in his heart about what he wanted to happen once they were in the Capitol, but he wanted there to be chaos, and I'm sure you've also had conversations with other senior White House officials, as I have."
Later in the interview, Sasse claimed that as Trump was watching his supporters storm the Capitol, he "was walking around the White House confused about why other people on his team weren't as excited as he was as you had rioters pushing against Capitol Police trying to get into the building."
"That was happening. He was delighted," the Republican senator said.
Former GOP congressman Trey Gowdy (SC) has also blamed Trump for the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
"I can't tell you what was on the president's mind," Gowdy told Fox News. "I can tell you that he said, let's march together to the Capitol. I don't think he marched with them. So I don't blame the cops when tens of thousands of people were told an election was stolen from them and then they decide to scale the walls of the people's House. I don't blame the cops for that! I blame the people who did it."
Read the interview's full transcript over at HughHewitt.com.