Maine GOP Sen. Susan Collins Won’t Support Donald Trump
More shade from inside his party has been thrown at Donald Trump—this time from the great state of Maine.
In a Washington Post op-ed that ticks off the Donald’s misadventures on the campaign trail one by one (among them, his tangles with Judge Gonzalo Curiel, the Khan family, and a reporter with arthrogryposis), longtime GOP Sen. Susan Collins writes that she just can’t take it anymore.
I had hoped that we would see a “new” Donald Trump as a general-election candidate — one who would focus on jobs and the economy, tone down his rhetoric, develop more thoughtful policies and, yes, apologize for ill-tempered rants. But the unpleasant reality that I have had to accept is that there will be no “new” Donald Trump, just the same candidate who will slash and burn and trample anything and anyone he perceives as being in his way or an easy scapegoat. Regrettably, his essential character appears to be fixed, and he seems incapable of change or growth.
Collins, former chair of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security, says she does not support the candidates from either party, but didn’t say for whom she would actually vote. She’s one of two Republican senators from the region. The other is New Hampshire’s Kelly Ayotte, who’s had a complicated relationship with Trump (she’s “weak,” he snarled last week; he now supports her tight and closely watched re-election bid), and who the Boston Globe editorial board yesterday argued she should disavow.
Why does any of this matter? Maine, like Nebraska, is unconventional in that it splits up its Electoral College votes, awarding some based on how parts of the state vote in the general election, rather than following the winner-take-all model the rest of the country uses. That makes Maine, which is pretty solidly blue, more important to Republicans on the campaign trail than it would be otherwise. It’s possible a snub from Collins could cost Trump one of the 270 votes he seeks in November.
In the meantime, it’s not like Collins is switching teams. It’s just that Trump doesn’t represent the party, she says, and she’s willing to wait for the storm to pass.
Some will say that as a Republican I have an obligation to support my party’s nominee. I have thought long and hard about that, for being a Republican is part of what defines me as a person. I revere the history of my party, most particularly the value it has always placed on the worth and dignity of the individual, and I will continue to work across the country for Republican candidates. It is because of Mr. Trump’s inability and unwillingness to honor that legacy that I am unable to support his candidacy.