Expectations usually aren't high when GOP politicians give graduation speeches, but Senator Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska) somehow managed to screw up wishing congratulations and good luck to his alma mater's outgoing seniors.
Speaking to students from Fremont High School, Ben Sasse made countless jokes labeled "unfunny" by most in attendance.
Along the way, he insulted the graduating seniors, made multiple racist comments about China, and slammed psychologists the world over.
Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse just gave the worst graduation speech of all time https://t.co/nCYe7ruOl4— 🦟 (@🦟) 1589734767.0
Wow. This is horrifyingly embarrassing, @BenSasse. You really need to fire whoever told you to record this message… https://t.co/N6hn7rwl0m— Nick Knudsen 🇺🇸 #DemCast (@Nick Knudsen 🇺🇸 #DemCast) 1589790291.0
"Congratulations, parents, teachers, coaches. Not that there's any meaningful distinction between those categories anymore. If you're a parent, you're a teacher… thanks a lot China."
Wow, Senator @BenSasse’s graduation speech is terrible. And depressing. And kinda mean, too. Here it is in four par… https://t.co/Z2mIwb3O7E— Soledad O'Brien (@Soledad O'Brien) 1589764250.0
Sasse said of psychologists:
"95% 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 ... If you're headed to college, do not — do not — major in psychology. That part's not a joke."
I promise you this: Should I ever be invited to give a graduation speech, I will give it my all. Graduating is a s… https://t.co/aS6losRCqK— Jess Phoenix 🌋 (@Jess Phoenix 🌋) 1589779406.0
The Senator's speech was so bizarre and politically charged that it drew a rebuke from multiple local organizations.
Here is our response to @SenSasse graduation speech to FHS. We felt that this speech should have focused on the sen… https://t.co/lvLOUVpxT9— Nebraska Counseling Association (@Nebraska Counseling Association) 1589768788.0
Can’t say that I have ever watched a high school commencement address where someone suggests that they are overweig… https://t.co/mrzCD5dQS0— Senator Adam Morfeld (@Senator Adam Morfeld) 1589659729.0
I’m all about elected officials having a sense of humor and connecting, but remember this is the guy that laments a… https://t.co/hAmnm8DM0M— Senator Adam Morfeld (@Senator Adam Morfeld) 1589683558.0
Even a member of the school board spoke out about the Senator's address.
Sasse went on to say even more about China.
"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... 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."
Nebraska Senator @BenSasse wins the award for the worst graduation speech in history https://t.co/Unabe79baR— Edward Hardy (@Edward Hardy) 1589823059.0
I have given a few commencement addresses, but mine have all been serious. I am a great fan of funny commencement… https://t.co/w8ztPLx1xC— Jason Kander (@Jason Kander) 1589803614.0
Chris Janieck, the Democrat who will be running against Sasse's in November's election, also commented on the ill-fated speech.
"It's hard for me to believe that a US senator would make remarks like he did in that speech. Ridiculing mental health care specialists, suggesting that the graduates are lazy slackers and using the platform to blame China for the pandemic we have now is beyond reprehensible."
All kidding aside, Ben Sasse's dismissiveness about mental health and psychology is incredibly narrow-minded and ju… https://t.co/K8CUvKx19x— Chris Cillizza (@Chris Cillizza) 1589818873.0
I’m deeply saddened that this is the message sent from an elected official. Without Psychology, I wouldn’t be doing… https://t.co/JHBuaL3mkz— Avery Driscoll (@Avery Driscoll) 1589816996.0
Twitter wasted no time in roasting the Senator for his lapse in judgement.
Senator Ben Sasse should apologize to a high school graduating class after suggesting they were fat and lazy. That’… https://t.co/k0BBsIC4fw— Sarah Reese Jones (@Sarah Reese Jones) 1589818373.0
Unclear what he's going for here - it's not funny, it's not cynical, there is no wise advice. Just a weird Gen X-is… https://t.co/p5LtaRAAEr— paul mcleary (@paul mcleary) 1589810011.0
Nebraskans may well remember this incident come next November.
Nebraska. You can VOTE OUT senator Ben Sasse in November along with trump and all the republicans. Their incompet… https://t.co/15AZFy3mDU— Thomas Kaine (@Thomas Kaine) 1589811250.0
It's not hard to give a good graduation address, but for some Republican Senators, every speech is an opportunity to put your foot in your mouth.