Maine Senator Susan Collins gained a reputation as a moderate Republican while serving as a junior Senator with well respected true moderate Senator Olympia Snowe.
When Maine's senior Senator retired after issuing a scathing rebuke of the direction the GOP was going, Collins became Maine's senior Senator.
But without Snowe as a buffer, Collins' voting record went from consistently being moderate Snowe's plus one to only voting against the wishes of Republican leadership when her vote makes no difference. Her former reputation and statements of "deep concern" before toeing the party line in crucial votes garnered Collins plenty of attention on the national stage, especially after her vote to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Collins' latest fumble came in response to the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. While claiming to be deeply concerned and supportive of calling witnesses and seeing new evidence, Collins ultimately announced she'll do as everyone expected.
Collins will vote exactly as instructed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The Maine Senator attempted to save face in an appearance on CBS Evening News by using White House and GOP rhetoric claiming impeachment is "overturning an election" as opposed to being the constitutional check and balance for a duly elected President who then commits high crimes and misdemeanors.
"I believe the President has learned from this case."
"The President has been impeached. That's a pretty big lesson."
Collins appeared stumped though when asked to justify her claims about Trump in light of his continued claims that he did nothing wrong.
Watch the full segment here:
#Impeachment: After voting to call more witnesses and evidence last week, @SenatorCollins says she will vote to acq… https://t.co/zNauXhNstS— Marty Golingan (@Marty Golingan) 1580852642.0
NEW: Susan Collins told @NorahODonnell she believes the president has learned a "pretty big lesson" from impeachmen… https://t.co/H7zyBKDRi1— Grace Segers (@Grace Segers) 1580850977.0
Susan Collins to Vote to Acquit Trump Because She Thinks “He’s Learned His Lesson”. Logical rationale if you’re ta… https://t.co/XDvzk2oomu— mschu (@mschu) 1580860135.0
Others quickly noted the glaring flaw in Collins' logic.
Susan Collins says Trump's learned his lesson from impeachment. Here are 75 times he said he'd done nothing wrong. https://t.co/qQZpGd3W0c— Philip Bump (@Philip Bump) 1580857114.0
Collins says Trump has been naughty but she believes he learned his lesson after totally getting away with it with… https://t.co/8ofCIBou6W— Bill Maxwell 🌊REMOVE TRUMP 2020🌊 (@Bill Maxwell 🌊REMOVE TRUMP 2020🌊) 1580852933.0
OMG! Just listening to Susan Collins on CBS state saying it would be nice of tRump apologized because he has learne… https://t.co/oyxgsqhnUT— John Helak (@John Helak) 1580859867.0
@girlsreallyrule @SaraGideon 74 years old over 10k lawsuits, sued and lost to NYAG for Trump U and DJT Foundation..… https://t.co/B1oK3XN4Bs— #DisbarBarr #DisbarCipillone (@#DisbarBarr #DisbarCipillone) 1580860242.0
susan collins: i think it's safe to say that trump has learned a pret-ty big lesson. trump: https://t.co/rfdVezeuZV— el tee (@el tee) 1580858185.0
Although some wondered if she referred to a different lesson being imparted by a McConnell lead Senate.
Susan Collins says Trump has learned a lesson. Yes: That he can do anything criminal and corrupt that he wants.— Michelangelo Signorile (@Michelangelo Signorile) 1580857975.0
Susan Collins is right that Trump learned a lesson from his behavior! ‘as long as the Senate behaves this way, you… https://t.co/FmPUcz3iSo— Alexandra Petri (@Alexandra Petri) 1580854899.0
Dear Senator Collins: impeachment is not overturning an election. It is removing a criminal from office. The only l… https://t.co/agp24ieB4U— James R Gaylord Jr (@James R Gaylord Jr) 1580859886.0
Every time Trump tweets he did nothing wrong and what he did was perfect, that will be a rebuke to the absurd claim… https://t.co/Qzt74z7SRR— Amy Fried (@Amy Fried) 1580858193.0
Surely Collins must have known the ridicule she will suffer for saying Trump has “learned his lesson” to do no wron… https://t.co/pINIrfqqRf— Gerald Weinand (@Gerald Weinand) 1580859182.0
Sen. Susan Collins will vote to acquit @realDonaldTrump, stating he has learnt his lesson. Does she really know Tru… https://t.co/Ne8L0KqDZM— Dion (@Dion) 1580856054.0
Collins is up for reelection in 2020 after previously vowing she would not run again.
There are 35 Senate seats being decided in 2020. 23 of those seats are currently held by the GOP, but three of those incumbent Republican Senators announced decisions to retire instead of seeking reelection.
Democrats need only gain 3-4 seats to take control of the Senate.
Therefore it's critical for the GOP to win every incumbent Senate reelection race, but Collins' flip flopping and "deep concern" is not playing well with Maineiacs who have a history of electing truly moderate Republicans like Snowe, Jock McKernan, Bill Cohen and the legendary Margaret Chase Smith.
The support already in place for whoever her eventual Democratic challenger becomes after Maine's June Senate primaries is something Senator Collins should really be deeply concerned about. The current Democratic frontrunner is Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon who is polling ahead of Collins.
As of Tuesday February 4, the 2020 election is 272 days away.
In addition to Susan Collins, the following Republican Senators will fight to keep their seats in November:
Dan Sullivan (AK), Tom Cotton (AR), Martha McSally (AZ), Cory Gardner (CO), Kelly Loeffler (GA), David Perdue (GA), Joni Ernst (IA), James Risch (ID), Mitch McConnell (KY), Bill Cassidy (LA), Cindy Hyde-Smith (MI), Steve Daines (MT), Thom Tillis (NC), Ben Sasse (NE), Jim Inhofe (OK), Lindsey Graham (SC), Mike Rounds (SD), John Cornyn (TX) and Shelley Moore Capito (WV).
Are you registered to vote?