For almost three days, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has publicly declined to accept or reject Donald Trump’s endorsement of her 2020 reelection bid.
Collins, the second-most unpopular senator in the country, is facing one of the most high-profile Senate races in the country in 2020. On Monday night, Trump endorsed her on Twitter, asking his followers to contribute to her reelection campaign.
“I 100% agree!” Trump wrote, quoting a tweet from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) that praised Collins for her vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
Collins showed “unbelievable courage during Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation and at other times when our country has needed a steady voice,” Graham wrote on Friday. “We need her to ensure a GOP majority in 2020.”
Collins has not reacted to Trump’s endorsement on social media, and her campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Kavanaugh’s confirmation was contentious due to several credible accusations of sexual assault levied against him. After weeks of uncertainty, Collins finally gave a full-throated endorsement of Kavanaugh, helping ensure his lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh continues to deny the accusations.
Collins, who built a brand as a moderate senator, announced her 2020 reelection bid as “a centrist who believes in getting things done through compromise, collegiality, and bipartisanship.” However, she has sided with Trump and Senate Republicans on some of the most controversial and partisan votes over the past few years, beyond the Kavanaugh nomination.
In late 2017, Collins backed the Republican tax law, which did not receive a single Democratic vote in the House or the Senate. In addition to directing most benefits to the nation’s wealthiest families, the tax law repealed a key component of the Affordable Care Act. Republican state officials are using that change to challenge to totality of the ACA in federal court, which could result in millions of people losing their health insurance if they are successful.
From the beginning of the Trump administration, Collins has helped Trump push through his agenda. When Betsy DeVos faced nationwide opposition after Trump nominated her to be his education secretary, Collins cast the deciding vote in the Senate Education Committee to send DeVos’ nomination to the Senate floor for a vote. When the vote came before the full Senate, Collins changed her vote, but DeVos was still confirmed, thanks to Collins’ earlier vote in committee.
In the first two years of the Trump administration, Collins voted the same way as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell 90 percent of the time.
“These days, Senator Collins seems more focused on serving the special interests that fund her campaigns than the Mainers who elected her,” Sara Gideon, a leading Democratic challenger looking to replace Collins, told the Associated Press recently.
While Collins was silent about Trump’s endorsement, Gideon took the opportunity to fundraise for herself.
“If you agree that it’s time for a Senator that puts Maine before Trump, chip in to our campaign now,” Gideon wrote on Tuesday.
Republicans currently hold a 53-47 seat majority in the Senate. Democrats are targeting Collins, along with GOP incumbents in Colorado, Arizona, North Carolina, and Iowa, in hopes of gaining the majority after 2020.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.