Sasse, critic of GOP, says he's 'independent conservative'

Sasse, critic of GOP, says he's 'independent conservative'
Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Sen. Ben Sasse (sas) says he sees himself as an “independent conservative who happens to caucus with the Republicans.”

The vocal critic of President Donald Trump had tweeted Saturday that he “regularly” considers leaving his party and becoming an independent.

He said Sunday that he wants both the Democratic and Republican parties to be “healthier” and not seeking to be less bad than the other.

The Nebraska senator told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he is committed to the “party of Lincoln and Reagan” as long as it sticks to principles of universal dignity and the First Amendment. He says Republicans don’t talk about that much and both parties are naysayers who are “anti-, anti-, anti-.”

Republicans hold a 51-49 edge in the Senate going into the November elections.