Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., is expected to resign from the U.S. Senate in December, according to multiple reports, to become president of the University of Florida.
The university announced that a search committee “unanimously recommended Sasse, who is decidedly anti-Trump, as the sole finalist for consideration by its Board of Trustees who will select the 13th president of the University of Florida. The senator is scheduled to tour the UF campus on Monday to meet with students, faculty and other members of the university community.
“Dr. Sasse has had a distinguished academic career, earning a PhD from Yale University and a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University. Dr. Sasse spent five years as the president of Midland University, where he is widely credited with transforming the institution. Prior to that, Dr. Sasse had a varied and impressive career in academia and the private sector. Dr. Sasse’s passion for teaching started at Yale University and continued as a faculty member at the University of Texas at Austin,” the school said on its website.
The UF Presidential Search Committee has unanimously endorsed former Yale and UT Austin professor, past Midland University president and current U.S. Senator Dr. Ben Sasse as the sole finalist to become the 13th president of the University of Florida. https://t.co/vDmNxRe10w pic.twitter.com/tlJoU8wT3t
— FLORIDA (@UF) October 6, 2022
“The University of Florida is the most interesting university in America right now,” Sasse said in a statement shared by UF. “It’s the most important institution in the nation’s most economically dynamic state — and its board, faculty and graduates are uniquely positioned to lead this country through an era of disruption. The caliber of teaching and research at UF is unmistakable, carried out through the core principles of shared governance and academic freedom. I’m thrilled about the opportunity to work alongside one of the nation’s most outstanding faculties.”
Sasse, who was one of seven GOP senators to vote in favor of Trump’s second impeachment over the incitement of the January 6 protest at the U.S. Capitol, was reelected in 2020 and his term doesn’t expire until 2027, so his potential departure will not affect the balance of power in the Senate — under Nebraska law, Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts would appoint Sasse’s replacement within 45 days of the seat being vacated.
In fact, Josh Hammer, an opinion editor of Newsweek, sees the development as a “win-win” should it play out, as seen here:
With Ben Sasse poised to take over the Univ. of Florida presidency, the UF board (filled with DeSantis appointees) has given us both (1) A chance for a real conservative senator from Nebraska; and (2) A well-above-average, pro-campus speech university president.
— Josh Hammer (@josh_hammer) October 6, 2022
Former President Donald Trump certainly saw the move as “good news,” saying good riddance to an “ineffective RINO” in a Truth Social post, calling the senator “Liddle’ Ben Sasse.”
“Great news for the United States Senate, and our Country itself. Liddle’ Ben Sasse, the lightweight Senator from the great State of Nebraska, will be resigning. If he knew he was going to resign so early in his term, why did he run in the first place? But it’s still great news! The University of Florida will soon regret their decision to hire him as their President,” Trump said. “We have enough weak and ineffective RINOs in our midst. I look forward to working with the terrific Republican Party of Nebraska to get a REAL Senator to represent the incredible People of that State, not another Fake RINO!”
Speaking of Trump, the media is selling the move as an early salvo in a perceived “cold war” between the former president and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, as Politico’s Marc Caputo pontificates here – Strong Language Alert:
Trump v. DeSantis Cold War alert
In May, Trump said he regretted supporting Sen. Ben Sasse
Now, DeSantis’s man at UF has engineered Sasse’s hiring
“Everyone knows what this is about: Ron and Don. It’s a big fuck you to Trump,” a top Republican insider tells me, echoing others https://t.co/3j2Rm50YM0
— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) October 6, 2022
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