Sen. Susan Collins (Maine), the top-ranking Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee and a key figure in getting bills passed through Congress, says she will not endorse former President Trump, even if he becomes the Republican Party’s nominee for president.
Asked if she could see herself endorsing Trump if he wins the nomination, Collins replied: “I do not at this point.”
The highly respected Maine senator was one of seven Senate Republicans to vote to convict Trump on the impeachment charge of inciting insurrection during his second Senate trial in 2021.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) arrives to the Capitol for votes on January 23, 2024. (Allison Robbert)
She expressed optimism about former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s (R) chances of competing with Trump in a two-person race, even though Trump beat Haley by 11 points in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary.
“I’m glad to hear last night that Nikki Haley is determined to stay in [the race.] I think the more people see of her, particularly since she appears to be the only alternative to Donald Trump right now, the more impressed they will be,” she said.
Collins said she didn’t formally endorse Haley at the outset of the race because she was friendly with other candidates like former Vice President Mike Pence, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) as well as with Haley and “didn’t want to choose among them.”
She played a key role in crafting the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that Congress passed in 2021, which Trump opposed. She was also one of three Republican senators who voted to derail Trump’s effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act in 2017.
Collins made her remarks at a time when more and more GOP senators are lining up behind Trump’s campaign, including Sen. John Cornyn (Texas), who previously raised questions about Trump’s viability in a general election.
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Cornyn, following the results of the New Hampshire primary Tuesday night, said he would follow the will of most Republican voters.
“I have seen enough. To beat Biden, Republicans need to unite around a single candidate, and it’s clear that President Trump is Republican voters’ choice,” Cornyn wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter.
“I will be continuing to work to elect a Republican Senate majority and to elect President Trump in 2024,” he pledged.