In defense of her vote to acquit President Trump, after he was impeached, Sen. Susan Collins said: “I believe that the president has learned from this case” and he “will be much more cautious in the future.”

The future has arrived, and it is now clear that Sen. Collins’ expectation has not been realized. Trump has used the military to disperse peaceful demonstrators so he could hold aloft a Bible for a photo op. This shameful episode follows his lies about Joe Scarborough, which were preceded by a botched response to the threat of COVID-19 and included Trump’s ludicrous suggestion that people could inject disinfectant to fight the virus.

I could go on: Trump’s inanities, lies and viciousness accumulate like autumn leaves and suggest that he has learned a totally different lesson from his acquittal: Republican senators like Susan Collins will excuse or ignore whatever he does.

Sen. Collins’ failure to hold Trump to account contrasts markedly with the way her mentor, Sen. William Cohen, responded to Richard Nixon’s travesties. While serving his first term in the House, Cohen was among the Republicans who investigated President Nixon. In a 2014 Watergate retrospective, Cohen told C-SPAN that he had been “preparing to lose” because he was ready to impeach Nixon.

Sen. Collins has often expressed her disapproval of Trump’s actions and rhetoric, but she has done nothing significant to oppose his unconstitutional actions. History will judge Collins harshly. Maine voters should do the same by voting her out of office this November.

Peter Vose

Falmouth

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