President Trump stands on the balcony outside the Blue Room after returning to the White House on Monday evening an removing his mask. Associated Press/Alex Brandon

BANGOR — Republican Sen. Susan Collins said Tuesday that she was “shocked” to see President Trump discharged from the hospital so soon, and that Trump set a poor example by appearing at the White House without a mask.

“When I saw him on the balcony of the White House, taking off his mask, I couldn’t help but think that he sent the wrong signal, given that he’s infected with COVID-19 and that there are many people in his immediate circle who have the virus,” she said. “I did not think that was a good example at all.”

The White House is now a coronavirus hotspot, with both the president and first lady having contracted the virus, along with others in their inner circle.

Collins has been critical of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic before, calling his performance “extremely uneven.”

She’s running against Democrat Sara Gideon, the Maine House speaker, in one of the most competitive Senate races in the country – one of a handful that could decide whether Republicans keep control of the U.S. Senate. It’s the costliest political race in state history.

Collins is seeking to persuade voters who oppose Trump to stick with her. Collins has not said whether or not she’ll cast her ballot for the president. She says she didn’t vote for him in 2016.

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