IOWA -- The Family Leader's Celebrate the Family event on Saturday drew in Republicans from all across the state and one from Nebraska.
Republican Senator Ben Sasse has been an outspoken critic at times of President Trump, but said Saturday's event was not about politics. Sasse knows any time an out of state politician comes to Iowa to talk politics, speculation will grow that he wants to be president. On Saturday he spoke to an influential group of social activists who engage come caucus time, but told the crowd early on he was not there to talk about the next election.
"I have no intention of talking about 2016 at all tonight, or, frankly, 2012 or 2020 or 2024. I have no intention of talking about Republicans and Democrats tonight," he said.
Sasse did bring warnings to the group about the future. He said they need to pay more attention to being good to each other, concerned that jobs will disappear to technology and about the dangers of war. He did not rip the president like he has in the past, but did criticize both major political parties.
"First of all, we need more civility in politics. But that's not our main problem. Our main problem is that there aren't a lot of people in Washington that have any vision on what problems we should be prioritizing and trying to solve," he said.
Several times, Sasse praised the Family Leader organization, and in turn, the group's leader, Bob Vander Plaats, said he was "thrilled to have Sasse there." This is in sharp contrast to the Republican Party of Iowa Chair Jeff Kaufmann, who previously said Sasse should stay out of Iowa following criticism of the president.