What Changed Susan? Portland Press Herald Columnist: “While Trump Hasn’t Changed, the Senior Senator from Maine Most Certainly Has”

“Maine’s Susan Collins Will Be Forever Remembered Not for Her Courage, But for Her Capitulation.”

The critical coverage continues for Senator Susan Collins as the Portland Press Herald columnist Bill Nemitz asks “what’s changed” between 2016 when Collins called President Trump “unfit” and today when she can be found “hiding behind her faux-obligation as a ‘juror’ to avoid having to state the obvious once again.”

Nemitz predicts Senator Collins will “fall back into the Republican line and vote to acquit” or perhaps that she will “vote ‘present’ in the hope it will satisfy both ends of her ever-shrinking base.” She voted 10 times at the outset of the trial with Mitch McConnell to block witnesses and evidence, then took a “hall pass” from McConnell to cast a meaningless vote to allow the Senate to call witnesses after she knew the motion would fail. She then voted twice more late Friday night against calling witnesses and documents, proving that she never had any intention of committing to a fair trial.

Last month, an editorial urged Senator Collins to “demand to see all the evidence” before the vulnerable incumbent went on to oppose every single subpoena for key documents and to hear from witnesses with direct knowledge of the president’s actions. Days later, the editorial board editor followed up with a column holding Collins accountable for blocking every subpoena for additional evidence and witness testimony, writing she “voted for a cover-up.” 

Portland Press Herald: Bill Nemitz: Back then, Collins called Trump ‘unfit.’ What’s changed?

February 2, 2020

Key Points:

  • She will say she tried her best. She’ll note that she voted for witnesses in the impeachment trial of President Trump, but that vote fell short.
  • Then, when the final impeachment vote comes on Wednesday afternoon, expect Maine Sen. Susan Collins to fall back into the Republican line and vote to acquit.
  • Buttressed by pages upon pages of detailed notes, Collins’ defense will all sound so logical, so well thought out. When it was all said and done, the reasoning will go, what else could she do?
  • Here’s what: Right now, Collins could do the same thing she did three and a half years ago, when Donald Trump was still just a candidate and few people dreamed that he’d ever darken the threshold of the White House.
  • On Friday, as Trump’s impeachment trial roller-coasted toward its inevitable conclusion, I called up the Washington Post op-ed Collins wrote on Aug. 6, 2016, under the headline “Why I Cannot Support Trump.”
  • It’s a remarkable piece of writing. And now, as Trump shakes off impeachment and looks ahead to another election, Collins’ statement of conscience bears revisiting – if only to show that while Trump hasn’t changed, the senior senator from Maine most certainly has.
  • And now? As the Senate makes history before our eyes, we find Collins studiously riveted to the process, hiding behind her faux-obligation as a “juror” to avoid having to state the obvious once again.
  • But times have changed. The man she criticized so roundly back then is the same man who can take a flamethrower to her political future now.
  • So, come Wednesday and the final impeachment vote, look for Collins to express her deep concern at how nasty everyone has become, wring her hands over how difficult her life has grown and then, ever loyal to a party that now devours those who dissent, vote to let Trump off the hook. Or maybe vote “present” in the hope it will satisfy both ends of her ever-shrinking base.
  • It won’t. And long after this national trauma passes into history, Maine’s Susan Collins will be forever remembered not for her courage, but for her capitulation.

Read the full column here.

The DSCC launched WhatChangedSusan.com to highlight Senator Collins’ alignment with Mitch McConnell and refusal to set the same standards for a fair impeachment process that she did in 1999. WhatChangedSusan.com will be updated regularly as the impeachment process unfolds.

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