Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) may very well end up doing the opposite of what she said she would do, but let’s be clear: it’s not a “nasty rumor” that she wouldn’t support the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court if there’s a Senate vote before the election.
There is a nasty rumor out there that @SenatorCollins of Maine will not be supporting our great United States Supreme Court Nominee. Well, she didn’t support Healthcare or my opening up 5000 square miles of Ocean to Maine, so why should this be any different. Not worth the work!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 16, 2020
“There is a nasty rumor out there that @SenatorCollins of Maine will not be supporting our great United States Supreme Court Nominee. Well, she didn’t support Healthcare or my opening up 5000 square miles of Ocean to Maine, so why should this be any different. Not worth the work!” President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday.
But it’s no rumor because Collins herself has said it publicly on Twitter, and the reason why she’s taken this position seems pretty obvious: the latest Maine poll has her trailing Democratic challenger Sara Gideon in the polls by 7 points, while other recent polls indicate an extremely tight race.
My statement on the Supreme Court vacancy: pic.twitter.com/jvYyDN5gG4
— Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) September 19, 2020
Collins said in September, the day after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, that the Republican-led Senate should act “fairly and consistently—no matter which political party is in power”—the type of appeal to bipartisanship you might expect to hear from an incumbent in her position.
Collins acknowledged that Trump “has the constitutional authority to make a nomination to fill the Supreme Court vacancy,” and said she had “no objection to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s beginning the process of reviewing his nominee’s credentials.”
But a vote on the nominee before the election? Collins said she would not support that.
“Given the proximity of the presidential election, however, I do not believe that the Senate should vote on the nominee prior to the election,” Collins said. “In fairness to the American people, who will either be reelecting the President or selecting a new one, the decision on a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court should be made by the President who is elected on November 3rd.”
Trump was asked about these comments after they were made and, bizarrely, he treated them like a rumor even then.
“We have an obligation to voters. Not the way I read it. But if that’s what she said, I totally disagree,” he said.
Days later, Collins made her position even clearer: “I made it very clear, yes, that I did not think there should be a vote prior to the election. And if there is one, I would oppose the nominee not because I might not support that nominee under normal circumstances, but we’re simply too close to the election.”
In summary: Collins said she would oppose the Barrett nomination if her GOP colleagues schedule a full Senate vote before the election. This is not a rumor.
[Image via MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images]
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