Susan Collins: Trump's 'she's not my type' defense is 'extremely bizarre'

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGOP signals unease with Barr's gun plan Sinema touts bipartisan record as Arizona Democrats plan censure vote The Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes 2020 roadshow to New Mexico MORE (R-Maine), one of the most prominent women in the upper chamber, called President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump conversation with foreign leader part of complaint that led to standoff between intel chief, Congress: report Pelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' Trump to withdraw FEMA chief nominee: report MORE’s choice of words in denying an allegation that he sexually assaulted a writer more than 20 years ago “extremely bizarre.”

Trump on Monday vehemently denied the charge, telling The Hill in an exclusive interview: “She’s not my type.” 

“I’ll say it with great respect,” he said. “No. 1, she’s not my type. No. 2, it never happened. It never happened, OK?”

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Collins, who cast the controversial key vote to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughPelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' Kavanaugh book authors dismayed about Democrats 'rush to judgment' on impeachment calls Clinton celebrates first visibly pregnant CEO to be on business magazine cover MORE after he was also accused of a decades-old sexual assault, said on Monday she didn’t know enough to comment on E. Jean Carroll's claim Trump assaulted her in a Bergdorf Goodman fitting room in Manhattan in the mid-1990s.

But she said his response that he didn’t find his accuser, a columnist for Elle magazine, attractive was odd. 

“I thought the president’s comment, ‘She’s not my type,’ or something along those lines was extremely bizarre,” Collins said.

Other Republicans said they also didn’t know enough to speak to the allegation but are willing to give Trump the benefit of the doubt.

“The only thing I’ve seen is you all’s reporting. I accept his denial at face value,” Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisTillis trails Democratic Senate challenger by 2 points: poll Kavanaugh impeachment push hits Capitol buzz saw The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation MORE (R-N.C.), who is up for reelection, told reporters.

“As somebody who had a front-row seat to the Kavanaugh hearings, we saw allegations that were proven false there,” he added. “We’ll let the facts go where they are but I take the president right — take his statement at face value.”

Sen. Mike BraunMichael BraunOvernight Energy: Trump administration to repeal waterway protections| House votes to block drilling in Arctic refuge| Administration takes key step to open Alaskan refuge to drilling by end of year Trump administration to repeal waterway protections Exclusive: Kushner tells GOP it needs to unify behind immigration plan MORE (R-Ind.) said he heard about Trump’s response Tuesday morning.

“I’d want to learn more about it,” he said. “Of course, it’s a serious matter. I didn’t see what the background was on it. I know it was from a long time ago."

“I’ll think he’ll have to contend with that just like other things that have surfaced over time,” he added.

Asked if he believed Trump’s denial, Braun said the president “will have to litigate that.”

“I believe in the fact that anybody should be able to air their grievance or view and there should be some process to defend yourself,” he said.