Senate

Trump says he could have ousted ‘atrocious’ Susan Collins in 2020

Former President Trump slammed Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) on Monday as “absolutely atrocious” and said he could have ended her Senate career in 2020 if he had wanted to tip the political scales against her.  

Trump fired his latest salvo against a prominent Senate Republican after The New York Times reported that she has worked with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to woo “anti-Trump candidates.” 

“Funny thing about Susan Collins, who is absolutely atrocious, and has been for a long time,” Trump said in a statement that emphasized that he won Maine’s second congressional district “by a lot” in 2020 and that “those hard working people” in her state had “attended a rally of many thousands” with him shortly before Election Day. 

“Just one word about her and the fact that she didn’t help the fisherman as their rights were taken away from them from the federal government, and the lumberjacks, she would have had no chance to win,” Trump added, making reference to his administration’s efforts to help Maine’s fishing and timber industries before the election.  

The Environmental Protection Agency under Trump proposed a rule to give the fishing industry more time to adopt cleaner engines. And Trump issued a memo directing the Department of Agriculture to review giving financial aid to lobstermen who were hurt financially by his trade war with China.  

Collins, however, supported both efforts, praising the proposed Environmental Protection Agency rule as a “commonsense solution” and has regularly supported federal aid for her home state’s fishing industry, including $300 million for fishermen that was part of the March 2020 COVID-19 relief package.  

Trump said Monday that Collins won reelection in 2020 despite Democrats pouring tens of millions of dollars into the Maine Senate race because he didn’t say anything negative about her, even though she declined to say whether she supported his reelection and opposed confirming conservative Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett before that year’s election.  

“I remained silent and positive and allowed her to have her victory. She would have lost in a landslide. Gee, aren’t I nice?” Trump said in the statement released by his political action committee, the Save America PAC. 

A spokeswoman for Collins disputed Trump’s claim that he could have ended her Senate career by pointing out that her boss won more votes than the president in Maine’s second district and statewide.  

“In 2020, Senator Collins became the only Senate candidate in the last 69 Senate races to win by splitting the ticket with the state’s presidential results — something she has done three times, the only sitting senator to do so,” said Collins spokeswoman Annie Clark.  

She noted that Collins beat Senate Democratic candidate Sara Gideon by 24 points in Maine’s second district and received 59 percent of the vote.

Trump won Maine’s largely rural 2nd congressional district with 52.5 percent of the vote compared to Biden’s 44.6 percent, picking up one electoral vote.   

Collins’s hometown of Caribou is located in the second district.  

Statewide, Collins won with 51 percent of the vote while Gideon garnered 42.4 percent, a much larger margin of victory than may political handicappers expected. 

Biden won the state 53 percent to 44 percent. 

Trump on Monday appeared to be reacting to an article published over the weekend by The Times, “Inside McConnell’s Campaign to Take Back the Senate and Thwart Trump.” 

It reported that McConnell “dispatched” Collins and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), an outspoken critic of Trump, to lobby Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) to run against Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).  

Romney, according to The Times, told Hogan that Senate Republicans needed anti-Trump reinforcements.  

The article also quoted Collins saying that “No one should be afraid of President Trump, period.” 

Collins and Romney were two of seven Republicans who voted to convict Trump a year ago on an article of impeachment accusing him of inciting the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.  

Trump took another shot at Collins two weeks ago for leading a bipartisan effort to reform the Electoral Count Act of 1887 to make it clear that the vice president does not have the power to overturn the results of an election, which is what Trump wanted his vice president, Mike Pence, to do when Congress convened a joint session to certify the results of the Electoral College vote more than a year ago.  

Trump criticized Republicans “like Wacky Susan Collins” an insisted that “Mike Pence did have the right to change the outcome, and they now want to take that right away.” 

Collins told ABC’s “This Week” that it is “very unlikely” that she will support Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign if he decides to run again for office.  

“Certainly it’s not likely given the many other qualified candidates that we have that have expressed interest in running, so it’s very unlikely,” she said.  

This story was updated at 1:23 p.m.

Tags Amy Coney Barrett Chris Van Hollen Donald Trump Larry Hogan Maine Mike Pence Mitch McConnell Mitt Romney Susan Collins

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