Ben Sasse speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

A spokesperson for Ben Sasse, the Republican senator who this week unloaded on President Trump, said Saturday that the Nebraska politician was "not going to waste a single minute" on the president's most recent Twitter attack.

Driving the news: Trump, in a series of tweets Saturday morning, called Sasse a "liability" to the GOP and an "embarrassment to the Great State of Nebraska."

  • "The least effective of our 53 Republican Senators, and a person who truly doesn’t have what it takes to be great, is Little Ben Sasse of Nebraska," Trump tweeted.
  • The statements came after Sasse, in a Wednesday call first reported by the Washington Examiner, told constituents that Trump mishandled the pandemic, "kisses dictator's butts," "sells out allies," "mocks evangelicals," and has "flirted with white supremacists."

What he's saying: James Wegmann, Sasse's spokesperson, tweeted Saturday morning that, "Ben said the same thing to Nebraskans that he has repeatedly said to the President directly in the Oval Office."

  • "Ben is focused on defending the Republican Senate majority, and he's not going to waste a single minute on tweets," Wegmann added.

Between the lines: Sasse, who was endorsed by President Trump in 2019, is running for re-election in Nebraska, where the president currently leads over Joe Biden by eight points, according to a recent Axios/SurveyMonkey poll.

  • But Biden's national polling lead against Trump has widened to double-digits. The former VP holds a narrower advantage in states needed for an Electoral College victory, such as Florida and Pennsylvania.
  • The GOP is also fighting to keep control of the Senate. Of the 12 incumbent Republicans believed to be facing competitive challenges, the Cook Political Report has rated seven as "toss ups" and two as "lean Democratic."
  • Sasse has been a critic of the president in the past, but remained largely silent while he was fighting to win the GOP nomination in the Nebraska primary this May.

The big picture: Since May, however, Sasse has appeared to ramp up criticism of the president, with Trump often shooting back.

  • In August, after Sasse said "the pen-and-phone theory of executive lawmaking is unconstitutional slop," referring to Trump's executive orders, the president retorted, calling the Republican senator a "RINO," meaning "Republican in name only."

Go deeper: Ben Sasse emerges as GOP Trump critic ahead of November

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Why it matters: Hogan, a moderate governor in a blue state, joins other prominent Republicans who have publicly said they will either not vote for Trump's re-election this November or will back Biden.

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The missed opportunities for 2020 and beyond

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Jason Armond (Los Angeles Times), Noam Galai, Jabin Botsford (The Washington Post), Alex Wong/Getty Images

As the 2020 presidential campaign draws to a close, President Trump and Joe Biden have focused little on some of the most sweeping trends that will outlive the fights of the moment.

Why it matters: Both have engaged on some issues, like climate change and China, on their own terms, and Biden has addressed themes like economic inequality that work to his advantage. But others have gone largely unmentioned — a missed opportunity to address big shifts that are changing the country.

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