In the same statement in which he said that former Vice President Mike Pence could have overturned the results of the 2020 election, former Republican President Donald Trump on Sunday called Maine GOP Sen. Susan Collins “wacky.”
Trump’s comments came after a rally in Texas during which he said it’s possible he would pardon some of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol rioters.
They also were said after Collins appeared on ABC’s This Week and revealed it was "very unlikely" she would support President Trump should he choose to run for a second term in 2024.
The statement, released by President Trump’s Save America PAC, says:
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“If the Vice President (Mike Pence) had “absolutely no right” to change the Presidential Election results in the Senate, despite fraud and many other irregularities, how come the Democrats and RINO Republicans, like Wacky Susan Collins, are desperately trying to pass legislation that will not allow the Vice President to change the results of the election? Actually, what they are saying, is that Mike Pence did have the right to change the outcome, and they now want to take that right away. Unfortunately, he didn’t exercise that power, he could have overturned the Election!”
The "legislation" Trump is referring to is Collins’ push to overhaul the 1887 Electoral Count act, which regulates how elections are certified at the federal level.
She is leading a bipartisan group of more than a dozen senators to find ways to protect poll workers, raise the requirements for members of Congress to challenge state-certified election results and solidify the role of the vice president as purely ceremonial when electoral votes are certified by Congress, among other changes.
In response to all of Trump’s words on Sunday, Collins told NECN & NBC 10 Boston in a statement e-mailed through her office that "President Trump's comments underscored the need for us to revise the Electoral Count Act because they demonstrated the confusion in the law and the fact that it is ambiguous."
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"I don’t see where the downside is for her," said Dr. Sandy Maisel, professor of government emeritus at Colby College.
During a Monday interview, Maisel explained that Trump’s comments in Texas on the Capitol rioters and subsequent statements may actually provide a boost to the senator by attracting support for her group the Senate and in Maine.
"I actually think it sort of enhances her reputation in the state to be called wacky," he said, adding that he thinks Trump greatly "helped" the chances of Collins electoral count reform bill passing.
Dr. Andrew Rudalevige, chair of the Government and Legal Studies Department at Bowdoin College, echoed Maisel, saying that, while criticism from Trump’s most ardent supporters "in some ways makes the senator’s life harder...being criticized by (Trump) gives her more leeway with Democrats and independents who want to see her taking a middle ground."
"I actually think the former President’s comments are going to help push that reform bill forward because, in the statement that he attacked Sen. Collins, he attacked the former Vice President, Mike Pence," Rudalevige added.
NECN/NBC 10 Boston also reached out to the executive director of Maine GOP for comment on Trump and Collins’ remarks but did not immediately hear back.