A Nebraska senator has been widely criticized
for making eyebrow-raising comments during
a high school commencement speech.
On May 16, Fremont High School hosted a virtual graduation
ceremony for its class of 2020. Among the speakers was
Sen. Ben Sasse, who graduated from the school in 1990.
In an approximately 8-minute speech, an unshaven
Sasse begins his speech by seemingly offering his heartfelt congratulations to the graduating class and their families .
“Congratulations, parents, teachers and coaches —
not that there’s any meaningful distinction among
those categories anymore at this point".
before suggesting that China
was responsible for the global
lockdown and current health crisis.
“If you’re a parent, you’re a teacher.
Thanks a lot, China. We’re all teachers now".
Sasse then rambles a bit before
claiming that the newly minted high
school graduates are not physically fit.
"If you don’t get that joke, talk to your
mom and dad back in the day when we
were a lot fitter than you people are".
The senator then circles back
to China, suggesting that Fremont
graduates will remember their ceremony .
because China “started a big, global pandemic that
created the worst public health crisis in over a
century and brought the economy to its knees".
The commencement speech, which was circulated on
YouTube, drew condemnation from Nebraska State
Sen. Adam. Morfeld, who mocked Sasse on Twitter.
Nebraska Democratic Party
Chair Jane Kleeb also chimed in.
she wrote on Twitter, “Graduating high school is
a memory our kids and families cherish and [Ben
Sasse] decided to use the moment to practice ‘jokes'”.
In response to the backlash, a spokesperson
for Sasse’s office hit back, “Pretending
graduates are too fragile to hear the truth is silly”