Susan Collins: I can’t support Trump for president
© Greg Nash

Republican Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsDemocrats gear up to hit GOP senators on DACA OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump administration gives renewables more time to take advantage of tax credits | House Republicans introduce bill to speed mining projects for critical minerals | Watchdog faults EPA communications in contamination of NC river The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Unemployment claims now at 41 million with 2.1 million more added to rolls; Topeka mayor says cities don't have enough tests for minorities and homeless communities MORE of Maine will not vote for Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpMichael Flynn transcripts reveal plenty except crime or collusion 50 people arrested in Minneapolis as hundreds more National Guard troops deployed Missouri state lawmaker sparks backlash by tweeting 'looters deserve to be shot' MORE this November, she announced in a Washington Post op-ed published Monday night. 


“I will not be voting for Donald Trump for president,” she declared. 

“This is not a decision I make lightly, for I am a lifelong Republican. But Donald Trump does not reflect historical Republican values nor the inclusive approach to governing that is critical to healing the divisions in our country.”

In the piece, Collins compares the GOP nominee to Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe battle of two Cubas Coronavirus Report: The Hill's Steve Clemons interviews Rep. Ro Khanna Democrats gear up to hit GOP senators on DACA MORE (I-Vt.), who captured attention and grew support for his primary challenge to eventual Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump campaign launches Asian Pacific Americans coalition Van Jones: A 'white, liberal Hillary Clinton supporter' can pose a greater threat to black Americans than the KKK Taylor Swift slams Trump tweet: 'You have the nerve to feign moral superiority before threatening violence?' MORE.

She said it “became apparent that, much like” Sanders, Trump “was connecting with many Americans who felt that their voices were not being heard in Washington and who were tired of political correctness."

“But rejecting the conventions of political correctness is different from showing complete disregard for common decency,” she wrote.

Instead of just “shedding the stilted campaign dialogue,” she wrote, Trump “opted for a constant stream of denigrating comments, including demeaning Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainHow Obama just endorsed Trump Former Texas Rep. Sam Johnson dies at 89 Trump's needless nastiness and cruelty will catch up with him MORE’s (R-Ariz.) heroic military service and repeatedly insulting Fox News host Megyn Kelly.”

Collins has been a vocal Trump critic and hasn’t been shy about rebuking the real estate mogul. 

Last month, the GOP senator said she wasn’t ruling out possibly voting for Clinton, though noting it was “extremely unlikely.”

But she also said she was open to backing Trump, saying then that her decision would likely be contingent on whom he selected as a running mate. She also said she “believes in redemption.”

"And there is a chance that he will make amends, start acting more presidential and come up with a positive agenda for our country," Collins told CNN in July.

But the events of the past month appear to have helped Collins make up her mind. 

“My conclusion about Mr. Trump’s unsuitability for office is based on his disregard for the precept of treating others with respect, an idea that should transcend politics,” she wrote.

“Instead, he opts to mock the vulnerable and inflame prejudices by attacking ethnic and religious minorities.” 

Collins pointed to three specific examples that she said “have led me to the inescapable conclusion that Mr. Trump lacks the temperament, self-discipline and judgment required to be president.”

The first was his mocking of a reporter with disabilities, which is now featured prominently in a Clinton campaign ad knocking Trump. 

The second incident was the dustup with Judge Gonzalo Curiel, an Indiana-born federal judge presiding over a case involving Trump University. Trump alleged he couldn’t be impartial because of his Mexican heritage, which Collins said “demonstrated a profound lack of respect not only for the judge but also for our constitutional separation of powers, the very foundation of our form of government.”

The final straw that cost Trump her support was his feud with the Muslim parents of a U.S. soldier killed in the Iraq War. 

“Rather than honoring their sacrifice and recognizing their pain, Mr. Trump disparaged the religion of the family of an American hero. And once again, he proved incapable of apologizing, of saying he was wrong,” she wrote.

Collins said she understands that Trump has tapped into a sense of discontent many voters are feeling but wrote that she cannot support the GOP candidate just because she is a Republican.

“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.”

Updated 9:50 p.m.