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GOP Sen. Sasse Criticized for Joking Through Commencement Speech

Virtual commencement speeches are currently having a moment. With nearly all college graduations being held online, celebrities and politicians are delivering their addresses via computer. Barack Obama’s speech to HBCU’s drew attention this weekend after he critiqued the Trump administration.

Photo by Andrew Harnik – Pool/Getty Images

Ben Sasse was asked to address the graduating students at Fremont High School in his home state of Nebraska. The Senator is now being slammed for joking throughout the speech and referring to the Chinese government as “thugs.”

Earlier in his address, Sasse joked about students who were planning on majoring in psychology. “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.”

The senator then made a crack about the health of young people. Saying that that the graduates would have to climb giant ropes, he continued, “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, we used to have to climb ropes all the way up to the ceiling of the gym all the time.”

Sasse, then got political, “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.”

Former school board member Michael Peterson is calling on Sasse to apologize. He wrote to the students on Facebook, “You deserved better than the graduation remarks from Senator Ben Sasse. The racism, implying that our graduates are fat and lazy, disparaging teachers, and attacking the mental health profession are despicable.”

Watch a clip of Sasse’s address here:



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