Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) is regarded as one of the most moderate members of her party. She has been lauded by the left for her “talking stick” and perceived willingness to break with her party at a time when Republicans are increasingly being compared to a cult over support for President Donald Trump.
But astute observers know that Collins’ reputation is largely a myth. If anything, it shows just how far the Republican party has moved to the right, and how desperate the media is to offer a “both sides” narrative.
Despite claiming to be pro-choice, Collins has continued to vote in favor of Trump’s anti-abortion judicial nominees. She called one of Trump’s executive orders on immigration a “strong improvement” over President Barack Obama’s policies. When she was under pressure for her support of the Republican tax bill that has overwhelmingly benefitted corporations instead of American workers, Collins attempted to dodge accountability by claiming that the coverage of her position was “unbelievably sexist”:
“I cannot believe that the press would have treated another senator with 20 years of experience as they have treated me.”
Like many Republicans, Collins has occasionally offered criticism of Trump despite continuing to support his agenda. According to FiveThirtyEight’s “Trump Score,” Collins has voted with Trump 80.8 percent of the time, which ranks between Sen. Mike Lee’s (R-UT) 82.2 percent and Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) 74.3 percent.
— Topher Spiro (@TopherSpiro) June 16, 2018
Then, Collins doubled down during an appearance Sunday on CBS’ Face the Nation. Although she acknowledged that family separation is “traumatizing,” Collins declined to support a bipartisan effort to end the cruel practice, and even suggested that Trump’s border wall be included in any immigration solution:
.@SenatorCollins says she doesn't support legislative efforts to stop family separation because she thinks the bills on offer are "far too broad." Adds that she supports building the wall as part of a comprehensive solution. pic.twitter.com/dEfkulCjwa
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 17, 2018
Even the president’s own wife can’t embrace some of the hardline positions endorsed by Trump and Collins. Ignoring her husband’s role in creating the new “zero tolerance policy,” First Lady Melania Trump issued a statement Sunday calling for a bipartisan solution to the immigration crisis, adding that she “hates to see children separated from their families.”