Collins claimed the concerned citizen had been 'rude' to her — but he says he was just asking questions.
Erik Mercer was not happy to hear Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) call him rude after he asked her about issues ranging from impeachment to her support for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Mercer, who identified himself as one of Collins' constituents, took out a full-page ad in Sunday's Portland Press Herald to detail his conversation with the lawmaker, which he said took place on a "recent flight from DC to Portland."
"On a recent flight from DC to Portland, I was happy to see you in the boarding area," Mercer wrote in the ad, which was printed in the form of a letter. "I asked if I could talk with you, and you invited me to sit down."
Mercer said he then tried to broach several topics with the senator, who declined to answer.
"I asked you if you believed that soliciting foreign interference in our elections was a crime and you would not answer," Mercer said, likely referring to Donald Trump's attempts to persuade both Ukraine and China to investigate his 2020 political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.
Mercer also asked Collins about Trump's use of discriminatory language targeting women and minorities, as well as her position on impeachment. He said he inquired about the senator's vote to confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, despite several allegations of sexual assault against him.
Collins would not comment on any of it, Mercer claimed.
"We parted agreeing to disagree," he wrote. But, he added, "on the jet bridge, I heard you comment to someone that a constituent had just been very rude to you."
"It was my intention to have a thoughtful discussion across ideological lines. It was my intention to do the work of a democracy, but you were unwilling to participate in that," he wrote.
After noting several people overheard his conversation with Collins, and thanked him for it later, Mercer added, "I am still waiting for answers to my questions. They are still waiting too."
Full page ad this morning in the Portland Press Herald pic.twitter.com/4dO0LPuEzQ
— Karen McManus (@mcm50_karen) October 13, 2019
Collins is gearing up for what may be her most difficult reelection campaign since first becoming a senator in 1996. Collins' support for Kavanaugh, a far-right justice who acted belligerently and insulted Democratic lawmakers during his confirmation hearing, was a flashpoint, angering many voters in Maine who considered Collins a moderate voice in the Senate.
Further tarnishing that moderate image is Collins' close relationship with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is helping raise campaign cash for her and is a strong ally of Trump.
Toward the end of the Obama administration, Collins voted with McConnell 73% of the time. Since Trump took over, Collins' record has become even more conservative, voting with McConnell up to 90% of the time.
The issue of impeachment is top of mind for many people, especially after Trump went on national television and asked both China and Ukraine to investigate Biden, a leading 2020 candidate in the Democratic primary.
It is illegal to solicit or accept campaign assistance from foreign nationals.
Maine's other senator, Independent Angus King, wrote a recent op-ed in which he stated his support for an impeachment inquiry into Trump, and his vow to follow the facts wherever they lead, should the House impeach and the Senate hold a trial.
Collins has not yet responded to the ad publicly.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.