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24 times Susan Collins has been 'disappointed' by Donald Trump

The Republican senator from Maine voted to acquit Trump during his impeachment trial and backed most of his judges.

By Josh Israel - June 30, 2020
Sen. Susan Collins
(Al Drago/Pool via AP)

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has supported many of the Trump administration’s actions with her votes. Meanwhile, at least 24 times she has indicated her displeasure with Donald Trump’s behavior in tweets and critical statements to the press.

Collins published an op-ed in the Washington Post in 2016 explaining why she was not going to vote for Trump for president, objecting to his racist attacks on a judge of Mexican American heritage, his mocking of people with disabilities, and his anti-Muslim attack on the parents of a U.S. Army captain who had been killed in Iraq.

But since Trump took office, she has voted with him more than two-thirds of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight’s tracker. She voted to give lifetime appointments to the vast majority of Trump’s 200 judicial appointees, including Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. She also backed the confirmation of Cabinet appointees such as Attorney General William Barr, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

She voted to acquit Trump in February during his impeachment trial, suggesting that he had learned a “pretty big lesson” and “would be more cautious in the future.” She later walked back that assessment, admitting it was “more aspirational on my part.”

Collins’ office did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

A review of Collins’ public statements finds at least 24 instances of her expressing concern, dismay, or disagreement with Trump.

  1. June 26, 2020: Collins issued a statement criticizing the Trump administration’s attempt to get the Supreme Court to strike down Obamacare in its entirety. “The Administration’s decision to submit this new brief is the wrong policy at the worst possible time as our nation is in the midst of a pandemic,” she wrote. “The Affordable Care Act remains the law of the land, and it is the Department of Justice’s duty to defend it.”
  2. June 14, 2020: Collins tweeted her objection to the Trump administration’s latest attack on LGBTQ people, a rule rolling back health care protections for the transgender community. “The Trump Administration‘s decision to eliminate protections for transgender patients is simply wrong. I’ll work to overturn this discriminatory policy,” Collins said.
  3. June 9, 2020: Collins objected to Trump’s attempt to lift fishing restrictions in waters off the New England coast. Noting other problems facing Maine’s fishing industry, Collins said in a statement: “The federal government should direct its focus to resolving these challenges rather than reopening the debate over this national marine monument.”
  4. June 2, 2020: Collins criticized Trump’s decision to have protesters forcibly removed from Lafayette Square for a photo opportunity. “To me, at a time like this, the president ought to be trying to calm the nation, pledge to right historic wrongs and be a steady influence. I don’t think he was last night,” she told reporters. “It was painful to watch peaceful protesters be subjected to tear gas in order for the president to go across the street to a church that I believe he’s attended only once.”
  5. May 16, 2020: Collins tweeted her objection to Donald Trump’s removal of State Department inspector general Steve Linick, who was reportedly investigating ethical violations by Pompeo. Noting her work on a 2008 law reforming the inspectors general system, she wrote, “The President has not provided the kind of justification for the removal of IG Linick required by this law.”
  6. April 14, 2020: Collins criticized Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. “It’s been very uneven. There are times when I think his message has been spot on and he has really deferred to the public health officials who have been with him at these press conferences,” she told Politico. “And then there are times when I think he’s been off message and has brought up extraneous issues. So I think it’s been mixed.”
  7. April 6, 2020: Collins criticized Trump’s removal of Michael Atkinson, inspector general for the intelligence community. “While I recognize that the President has the authority to appoint and remove Inspectors General, I believe Inspector General Atkinson served the intelligence community and the American people well, and his removal was not warranted,” she said in a statement.
  8. March 13, 2020: Collins suggested that Trump should “step back” from his public response to the coronavirus, telling reporters, “It is very important that health professionals be out front and that there be a consistent message” and calling his administration’s messaging “inconsistent.”
  9. Feb. 7, 2020: As Trump removed or demoted multiple federal employees who testified against him during the impeachment trial — and one witness’ brother — Collins said she was against retaliation. “I obviously am not in favor of any kind of retribution against anyone who came forward with evidence,” she told reporters, without specifically denouncing Trump’s actions.
  10. Feb. 4, 2020: Though she decided not to convict him of obstruction or abuse of power in the impeachment trial, Collins called Trump’s July 2019 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “improper” and “far from perfect.”
  11. Oct. 22, 2019: After Trump attacked the impeachment proceedings against him as a “lynching,” Collins tweeted: “‘Lynching’ brings back images of a terrible time in our nation’s history, and the President never should have made that comparison.”
  12. Oct. 9, 2019: Collins criticized Trump’s decision to abruptly withdraw troops from the border area between Turkey and Syria in a pair of tweets. “On Monday, I said that President Trump’s decision to abandon the Kurds, our major ally in the fight against ISIS, was terribly unwise,” she wrote. “Today, we are seeing the consequences of that terrible decision. If the reports of Turkish strikes in Syria are accurate, I fear our allies the Kurds could be slaughtered.”
  13. Oct. 5, 2019: After Trump asked China to investigate Joe Biden during a press availability, Collins objected. “I thought the president made a big mistake by asking China to get involved in investigating a political opponent,” she told reporters. “It’s completely inappropriate.”
  14. Aug. 15, 2019: Collins tweeted that she disagreed with Trump’s successful effort to get two congresswomen of color banned from visiting Israel. “Israel should allow U.S. Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar to visit,” she wrote. “The Trump Administration made a mistake in urging Israel to prevent them from entering the country.”
  15. March 29, 2019: Collins joined a bipartisan group of senators criticizing a Trump administration proposal to increase work requirements for food assistance recipients. “The proposed changes would take food assistance away from Americans struggling to find stable employment while doing nothing to help them to actually become permanently employed,” she and Sen. Angus King (I-ME) said in a joint press release.
  16. Feb. 14, 2019: Collins objected to Trump’s decision to declare an “emergency” at the southern border to allow him to shift taxpayer dollars from defense projects to paying for his border wall. “Declaring a national emergency for this purpose would be a mistake on the part of the President,” she said in a press statement.
  17. Nov. 25, 2018: After journalist Jamal Khashoggi was tortured and killed, Trump refused to blame the Saudi regime despite evidence pointing to its culpability. Collins tweeted, “It is a grave mistake for the President to ignore the CIA’s widely reported assessment on the Khashoggi murder. If the President does not reconsider what actions our government should take toward the Saudi Government & [Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman], Congress must act instead.”
  18. Oct. 3, 2018: When Trump publicly mocked Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, Collins told reporters: “The president’s comments were just plain wrong.” She would later vote to confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
  19. July 18, 2018: After Trump openly supported Vladimir Putin’s claims that Russia had not meddled in the 2016 election — despite his own intelligence agencies’ findings — Collins tweeted her disagreement. “The Russians continue efforts to undermine Western democracies, including ours,” she wrote. “The President is wrong and needs to heed the warnings from our Intelligence Community, including Dan Coats.”
  20. July 16, 2018: Two days earlier, she tweeted, “The President’s statements today in Helsinki demonstrate his continued refusal to accept the unanimous conclusions of U.S. intelligence leaders and the bipartisan findings of the Senate Intelligence Committee.”
  21. Jan. 12, 2018: Collins objected to Donald Trump’s racist comments that fewer immigrants should be allowed from African nations because they are “shithole countries.” “These comments are highly inappropriate & out of bounds and could hurt efforts for a bipartisan immigration agreement,” she tweeted. “The President should not denigrate other countries.”
  22. Nov. 30, 2017: At a Christian Science Monitor event, Collins said Trump’s hate speech was not constructive. “But do I think it’s helpful that he raises these conspiracy theories or puts out a tweet of an anti-Muslim video that turns out to not even be accurate? No, I don’t and I haven’t hesitated to criticize the president when he does,” she said.
  23. June 4, 2017: Collins said she did not agree with Trump’s claim that his Muslim travel ban was necessary for security. “I think that the travel ban is too broad and that is why it has been rejected by the courts,” she said in an appearance on “Face the Nation.” (In 2018, the Supreme Court upheld the ban in a 5-4 ruling.)
  24. June 1, 2017: Collins tweeted her disappointment that Trump had decided to pull out of a major international climate change agreement: “Climate change requires a global approach. I’m disappointed in the President’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.”

Collins has refused to say whether she will vote for Trump’s reelection.

But as she faces a tough reelection race herself this November, Collins — at least as of the end of last year — still had Trump’s support.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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