Nearly two dozen GOP senators may be skipping the Republican National Convention later this month in Cleveland, where Donald Trump is expected to receive the party’s official nomination.
Sixteen Republican senators have already confirmed they will not be attending the convention while another six remain undecided, the Hill reported Thursday. Thirty-two plan to be there.
"Sen. Sasse will not be attending the convention and will instead take his kids to watch some dumpster fires across the state, all of which enjoy more popularity than the current front-runners," a spokesman for Sen. Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) said.
Sen. Jeff Flake (R., Ariz.) said he had to mow his lawn during the three-day convention, which kicks off July 18, while his GOP colleague Steve Daines said he planned to go fishing with his wife in his home state Montana.
Many Republican lawmakers have been reluctant to back Trump as their party’s nominee. Flake detailed his misgivings about the business mogul during a May interview with NPR, noting Trump’s proposed Muslim ban and plans to build a wall on the U.S. southern border and make Mexico pay for it.
Former presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) had initially planned to attend the convention, but reversed his plans after announcing he would seek reelection for his Senate seat. He will instead take the time to campaign in Florida.
Vulnerable Republican incumbent Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania also decided to skip the convention, despite originally planning to be there.
Trump’s support among GOP senators took a hit last month after he accused a Mexican-American judge presiding over a lawsuit on the now-defunct Trump University of being unfit for the case because of his heritage.
Sen. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.), who withdrew his endorsement of Trump after the controversy, will not be attending the convention.
Trump singled out Kirk, Flake, and Sasse during a private meeting Thursday on Capitol Hill for their criticisms of his campaign. He told Sasse that he "must want Hillary" Clinton to win the White House in November given his public crusade against the business mogul.
Sasse has been outspoken about his disdain for both Trump and Clinton, condemning both candidates for acting "like children."