Senator Ben Sasse should apologize to a high school graduating class after suggesting they were fat and lazy. That’s the view of at least one member of the school board.
The Republican addressed the students from his former school, Fremont high in Nebraska, as part of their graduation. Sasse used the virtual address to attack China and even the graduates themselves.
Sasse said they would all remember “that time when China started a big global pandemic that created the worst public health crisis in over a century and brought the economy to its knees and we had to stay home and everybody was hoarding toilet paper.”
“Nobody knows exactly how we’re going to beat this thing, but you know what, we’re Americans, we’re Nebraskans, we’ve got grit and we’re going to beat this thing.”
“We will bring the economy back. We are going to beat the virus,” Sasse said.
“We’re going to have to have a serious reckoning with the thugs in China who let this mess spiral out of control by lying about it.”
Sasse then launched into a strange attack on psychologists, which he framed as a joke.
“Ninety-five per cent of all gainfully employed psychologists – and I’m serious, there are dozens of them that are gainfully employed – their job is really just to help people forget high school,” the senator said.
“If you’re headed to college, do not do not major in psychology. That part’s not a joke.”
The Republican joked about climbing a rope and appeared to criticize the students for being unfit.
“Back in the day when we were a lot fitter than you people are, we used to have to climb ropes all the way up to the ceiling of the gym all the time,” he said.
“You deserved better than the graduation remarks from Senator Ben Sasse,” school board member Michael Petersen wrote on Facebook.
“The racism, implying that our graduates are fat and lazy, disparaging teachers, and attacking the mental health profession are despicable,” he said.
Darragh Roche is a journalist covering U.S. politics and media