Ben Sasse, Deb Fisher, Pete Ricketts

Ben Sasse speaks at a rally in Omaha with Sen. Deb Fisher, R-Neb., right, and gubernatorial candidate Pete Ricketts, left, on Nov. 4, 2014. Sasse and Fischer called on Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to withdraw over lewd comments he made about women.

Nati Harnik, Associated Press file

Even as it looks more likely that Donald Trump will win the Republican presidential nomination, Ben Sasse, the first-term U.S. senator from Nebraska, remains firm that he can't support Trump.

Just as Nebraska looked to get the political limelight in the presidential nominee selection race with the May 10 primary, things changed Tuesday night when Trump won the Indiana primary and candidate Ted Cruz ended his campaign. That meant Cruz canceled his event slated Wednesday in Lincoln, Nebraska, and Trump now seems on the path to get enough delegates to avoid a summer Republican National Committee brokered convention.

The only Republican candidate left is John Kasich, who can't amass the needed 1,237 delegates to win the nomination. That means the phrase presumptive candidate is being applied to Trump for the first time by some people.

But Sasse is standing by his previous statements that he won't back Trump in the run-up to the November election. In a tweet right after Indiana was won by Trump, Sasse wrote the following Tuesday night, with a link to his Facebook post of opposition to Trump: "Reporters keep asking if Indiana changes anything for me. The answer is simple: No. This from Febr. still holds..."

The Facebook post begins with Sasse saying he understands the worry, ache and anger people have about America's position today. He also said he won't support likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, who still has a challenger in Bernie Sanders.

Sasse then writes: "If Donald Trump ends up as the GOP nominee, conservatives will need to find a third option.

"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."

Sasse lists some statements by Trump (such as opening up libel laws so more people could sue), then finishes up: "I can’t support Donald Trump."

Sasse has used Twitter and interviews to make his anti-Trump views known. That doesn't look to be changing, even as some Republicans who have previously spoken against Trump move to join the fold.

Update at 11:15 a.m. Wedn: Kasich will drop out of the race later Tuesday, making Trump the presumptive nominee.

Update at 9 a.m. Thursday: Sasse on Thursday morning wrote a lengthy Facebook post to expand on his anti-Trump views. He wrote the post after hearing a lot of opposition to Trump during a stop at the Wal-Mart in Fremont, Neb.

Sasse said he wants a more "adult" candidate, and that Americans shouldn't be satisfied with either Trump or Hillary Clinton as the final two major party presidential candidates.

He wrote, "Heads, they win; tails, you lose. Why are we confined to these two terrible options? This is America. If both choices stink, we reject them and go bigger. That’s what we do."


County and education reporter

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