Senator Susan Collins has been one of the pivotal will-she-won’t-she votes to watch during the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, but she has made herself quite unpopular in her home state of Maine by not forcefully rebuking Trump for his actions throughout the Ukrainian extortion scandal.
Attempting to thread the needle between appeasing Trump and scolding his impeachable actions, Collins has managed to impress neither Trump supporters nor Democratic and independent voters in Maine.
Her latest excuse, however, is to blame Democrats being mean to Trump.
“The Democrats really overplayed their hand, I think,” said Collins today to a gaggle of reporters outside the Senate chamber. “What Trump did was wrong, and no President should do it again, but trying to hold him accountable was just too far for me. If Democrats had gone for censure instead of impeachment, I might have supported that. In fact, I totally would have supported it. I wouldn’t have been quiet throughout the whole House effort, and then made excuse after excuse when it came to the Senate. Censure would have been something I’d risk upsetting Trump’s supporters for. It’s the perfect action Democrats should have taken, because it’s a rebuke with little legitimate consequences. Democrats are just being too mean with this impeachment stuff. And then Elizabeth Warren asked that question whether our Chief Justice was threatening the legacy of his Supreme Court by allowing Republicans to block all witnesses. I was actually totally going to vote to remove Trump before that, seriously, but that went too far. It was just too mean of a reality check to bring up. And boy am I happy we Republicans effectively killed the whole witness thing. I’m glad I was able to vote for witnesses in a way that didn’t actually make witnesses happen. Can you imagine how angry Trump’s supporters would be if Republicans had actually called for witnesses in this trial, like how trials usually go? I hope voters in Maine reward me for my witnesses vote in October. I waited until the very end to discuss this vote only after Mitch McConnell announced he had the votes to kill the witnesses scheme so that my vote to hear witnesses does absolutely nothing to change any sort of calculus in the Senate voting, but I hope Maine voters realize how brave I am to make this entirely empty virtue-signal of a vote. And, again, I was totally for removing Trump before Democrats got so mean asking publicly why our Senate impeachment trial wasn’t going to have witnesses like every other trial anywhere in America. The White House has been blocking every document and witness possible, and John Bolton only announced his acceptance to be subpoenaed after the House passed impeachment articles, but talk about great timing to help me come up with excuses not to vote how my heart and soul tell me I ought to vote on impeachment!”