The #NeverTrump hashtag revolt against Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, which has been steadily gaining momentum over the weekend, got the endorsement of Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska on Sunday, making him the first elected Republican to do so.
The hashtag reportedly began with conservative pundit Erick Erickson. It grew rapidly Friday evening, inspiring tweets from across the political spectrum to become the top trend on Twitter not only in the U.S., but worldwide reports BuzzFeed. And on Sunday night, Sasse declared that he would not support Trump for president despite his popularity among Republican voters.
"The Trump coalition is broad and complicated, but I believe many Trump fans are well-meaning. I have spoken at length with many of you, both inside and outside Nebraska. You are rightly worried about our national direction. You ache about a crony-capitalist leadership class that is not urgent about tackling our crises. You are right to be angry," he began in a lengthy Facebook post.
"I'm as frustrated and saddened as you are about what's happening to our country. But I cannot support Donald Trump," he declared.
"Please understand: I'm not an establishment Republican, and I will never support Hillary Clinton. I'm a movement conservative who was elected over the objections of the GOP establishment. My current answer for who I would support in a hypothetical matchup between Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton is: Neither of them. I sincerely hope we select one of the other GOP candidates, but if Donald Trump ends up as the GOP nominee, conservatives will need to find a third option," he noted.
Sasse then said Trump is divisive and likened him to President Barack Obama.
"Mr. Trump's relentless focus is on dividing Americans, and on tearing down rather than building back up this glorious nation. Much like President Obama, he displays essentially no understanding of the fact that, in the American system, we have a constitutional system of checks and balances, with three separate but co-equal branches of government," he said.
"And the task of public officials is to be public 'servants.' The law is king, and the people are boss. But have you noticed how Mr. Trump uses the word 'Reign' – like he thinks he's running for King? It's creepy, actually. Nebraskans are not looking for a king. We yearn instead for the recovery of a Constitutional Republic," he added.
In an op-ed for the Conservative Review published Monday, Iowa conservative radio host Steve Deace also declared will never vote for Trump.
"On national television Sunday morning, the current frontrunner for the Republican Party's presidential nomination refused to disavow being publicly supported by racists not once, not twice, but three times. Just another in a multitude of reasons why I will #NeverTrump – even if he is the Republican nominee," wrote Deace.
"And spare me your sanctimonious rambling about, 'but if he's the nominee we have to vote for him or Hillary will win.' First of all, most of the thumb-suckers saying this have sat on the sidelines during this primary process, refusing to get their hands dirty doing everything they could to stop the GOP from nominating another sure-fire progressive loser/betrayer once more," he continued.
Deace, who is a supporter of Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, said he and his wife went the extra mile to help Cruz win in Iowa by mortgaging "every asset and resource" they have.
"My wife and I mortgaged every asset and resource we have to help Ted Cruz win the Iowa Caucuses. And we've got the sleepless nights, as well as the scabs from the pretend friends who stabbed us in the back, to prove it," he wrote.
"Funny thing is, I don't remember seeing much of the Team GOP sycophant crowd those many months while the bullets were flying. So if you didn't do whatever you could to help someone who actually stands for what we're supposedly fighting for, whether that be Cruz or one of the other candidates not named Trump in the race, spare me your whining. As the great prophet Travis Tritt once sang, 'Here's a quarter, call someone who cares,'" he added.