Did electoral politics play a role in Sasse’s vote? Those close to him insist it didn’t, but it was hard not to notice that every senator who is up for re-election in 2020 except for one (Maine’s Susan Collins) sided with Trump. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, another senator up in 2020, recently wrote an op-ed opposing Trump’s declaration, only to change his mind at the last minute to support it. One of the twelve GOP senators who voted to disapprove of Trump’s declaration tells National Reviewthat he believes Sasse wanted to vote for the disapproval resolution but was in too much trouble with Trump’s supporters already to do so.
On the other hand, what did Sasse really gain politically from Thursday’s vote? “I can’t imagine one vote changes things too much for him” regarding a 2020 primary challenger, says one source close to the Trump White House. “Or changes the White House’s view of him to any great extent.”