Susan Collins is not my idea of a good Republican senator. Over the years she has always seemed to be one of those legislators with a wetted finger held high overhead trying to detect the faintest breeze of public opinion because doing the thing that is popular with the right sort of people, like the editorial board of the New York Times, appears to explain many of her positions.
Still, she was on “Meet the Press” today, following up an appearance by Bob Corker, and the subject of President Trump and his conflict with Corker and with Jeff Flake came up:
DICKERSON: Let’s go now to the criticisms from Senator Corker and Senator Flake this week.
Senator Flake in particular said — had message, it seemed, for his Republican colleagues. And he said, basically, don’t be complicit.
What did you make of that message?
COLLINS: Well, first, let me say that Jeff Flake is one of my best friends in the Senate. I have enormous respect for him. And I’m really sorry that he’s not going to be running for reelection. The Senate will be a lesser place without his being in it.
Having said that, I think we need to accept that Donald Trump is our president. And my approach is to work with my fellow Republicans, with Democrats, with House members and also with this administration. That is the only way that we’re going to get things done in this Congress.
It’s the only way that we can assure the American people that they can have some trust in government and that we’re working to better their lives.
DICKERSON: Senator Flake would say that there is some responsibility, though, even while you’re trying to get things done, to call out those things that the president does that might get in the way of you getting things done.
And I have not hesitated to disagree with the president, whether it’s with his comments after the incidents in Charlottesville or on the very important health care issues. So, I’m going to continue to do that. I will work with the president and support his policies when I think he’s right.
But I will not hesitate to oppose him when I think that he is misguided.
That should be the standard. And it is a damned shame Susan Collins has to be the one to say it.
Corker, Flake and many others are trying to make opposition Trump some kind of bizarre Manichean contest where the only way a person can be GOOD is to oppose Satan incarnate, Trump. But this opposition just for the sake of opposition, which, quite honestly, is obviously what motivates the most vocal Trump opponents, doesn’t make any sense.
Ironically, by the standards the most virulent Trump haters have made a point of applying to others, Collins herself became a “Trumpkin” in this interview.