Senator Collins, we need to have a talk. You keep making errors in judgment, oblivious to your past mistakes. Let me explain.

After President Trump’s first impeachment trial, you suggested that he had learned his lesson. Poppycock. Anyone who’s followed Trump’s lifelong habit of conning and lying knows that he is incorrigible. He blusters and bullies and sues his way out of every fix in which he finds himself. Consider the most recent legal rulings about his fraud-laden corporate career. Maybe you didn’t get the memo. Or maybe you didn’t want to admit that the unofficial head of your political party is a two-bit narcissist, a con man to the core, a quack to the quick.

And what about the naiveté you displayed after interviewing Brett Kavanaugh for a position on the United States Supreme Court. He convinced you that he would not try to overturn settled law. You proudly gave a speech about your vote to confirm Kavanaugh, a move which, while against the will of most Mainers, elevated your status in right-wing circles, especially members of the Federalist Society. And then, oops, the Supreme Court overturned Roe V Wade. You were shocked and surprised. You’d been duped yet again.

The second duping, the Kavanaugh fiasco, may sink Republican chances for flipping the Senate and will surely hurt in many House contests. Don’t be shocked if that happens; just look in the mirror to find one of the explanations.

And then came the January 6 insurrection, the horrendous event when Trump’s diehard supporters invaded the Capital. And, oh yes, Trump began spreading the Big Lie, a con act believed by the majority of Republican voters. And how about all of Trump’s efforts to overturn the election by any means possible: fake elector slates, bullying phone calls to state election officials and on and on. Do you still think Trump is capable of learning from his mistakes?

And then came the case of the missing documents, many of them highly classified. Trump had no right to those documents. Period. Not only did he take them to Mara Lago, but his lawyers claimed that they had all been turned back to the Justice Department. Now that was the definition of a “big lie.”


After futile attempts to get Trump to turn over all the documents and proof that many of them remained in Mara Lago, the Justice Department took the justified step of going to the hotel to get the documents.

Your response was classic Collins, a masterpiece of naive spluttering and faux outrage. You claimed to be “shocked.” You said, “It was unprecedented for there to be a raid on a former president’s home over an issue involving disputed documents.” I know you didn’t want to offend Trump supporters, Senator Collins, but that dog won’t hunt. If Trump hadn’t stolen documents (including many highly classified ones) his hotel would never have been raided. What is “unprecedented” is Trump’s horrendous behavior on this matter and several others over the last six years.

One might think that by this time you would have mustered up the courage to speak out against Trump and Trumpism. But then, you are no Margaret Chase Smith. No Olympia Snowe. No Liz Cheney. Moreover, you have refused to rule out voting for Trump in 2024.

And here’s the bigger more immediate issue. You have come out in full support of Paul LePage and his bid to take back the governor’s seat in the coming election. Do you remember when LePage bragged that he was “Trump before Trump?” He wore that as a badge of honor. Do you wear your support of LePage as a badge of honor? Asking for a friend.

Ever the political opportunist and never the principled legislator, you have chosen to remain on the Trumpian side of today’s political divide. Your support didn’t surprise sage political supporters or people such as myself who caught on to your game long ago. I can only hope that, years from now when you’re looking back over your long career in the Senate, you stop and ask yourself, “What was I thinking?”

David Treadwell, a Brunswick writer, welcomes commentary and suggestions for future Just a Little Old columns.

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