Fresh off a win in New Hampshire, former President Donald Trump is racking up endorsements from Republican politicians – but he won’t be getting one anytime soon from Maine’s senior senator, Susan Collins, who on Wednesday said she can’t see herself endorsing him.

When a reporter asked if she could see herself endorsing Trump if he wins the party’s nomination, Collins said: “I do not at this point, no,” according to a transcript of her comments made in the hallway off the floor of the Senate Chamber.

But when pressed, Collins also said she wasn’t backing Trump’s last remaining rival for the party nomination, former U.N. Ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, even though Collins praised her candidacy and called her a personal friend.

“I’m glad to hear last night that Nikki Haley is determined to stay in,” she said. “I think the more people see of her, particularly since she appears to be the only alternative to Donald Trump right now, the more impressed that they will be.”

Collins said she had previously declined to endorse any presidential contender because she was friendly with several of them, including Haley, former Arkansas congressman and Gov. Asa Hutchinson, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Vice President Mike Pence, and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott.

“I know all of them personally, so I didn’t want to choose among them,” Collins said.


It wasn’t clear why Collins is not endorsing Haley now that she is Trump’s lone rival. Collins’ staff did not make her available for an interview but instead provided a transcript of her comments made outside the Senate Chamber.

Collins did not endorse Trump in 2016 and said she cast a write-in vote for House Speaker Paul Ryan for president that November. In 2020, when she also was running for reelection, Collins refused to say if she would support Trump in the weeks leading up to the election.

Collins voted to convict Trump after his 2021 impeachment trial on charges he incited the Capitol mob.

“My vote in this trial stems from my own oath and duty to defend the Constitution of the United States,” Collins said in a speech on the Senate floor. “The abuse of power and betrayal of his oath by President Trump meet the constitutional standards of high crimes and misdemeanors, and for those reasons I voted to convict Donald J. Trump.”

Collins was one of six Republican senators to vote for a conviction, but Trump ultimately was acquitted.

But Collins recently backed Trump’s efforts to stay on the state’s March 5 primary ballot after Secretary of State Shenna Bellows decided to remove him after finding Trump’s actions before the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol violated the insurrection clause of the U.S. Constitution.

“Maine voters should decide who wins the election – not a Secretary of State chosen by the Legislature,” Collins said on the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. “The Secretary of State’s decision would deny thousands of Mainers the opportunity to vote for the candidate of their choice.”

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: