The Maine GOP chair has met via Zoom with county leaders to discuss whether to call a meeting to rebuke U.S. Sen. Susan Collins for her vote to convict former President Donald Trump at his impeachment trial.
GOP Chair Demi Kouzounas told members of the state committee in a weekend email to be prepared for an emergency meeting “in the near future” to discuss the vote by Collins, one of seven Republicans who voted to convict Trump of inciting an insurrection.
Collins, R-Maine, said much of the blame for the attack on the U.S. Capitol rested with the former president who’d unleashed a “steady barrage of false claims that the election had been stolen from him.”
She said in a speech that “tossing a lit match into dry leaves is very different from tossing it into a pool of water” and noted that on Jan. 6 the atmosphere among the crowd outside the White House “was highly combustible.”
“The record is clear that the president, President Trump, abused his power, violated his oath to uphold the Constitution, and tried almost every means in his power to prevent the peaceful transfer of authority to the newly elected president,” she added.
Kennebec County GOP Chair Helen Tutwiler said county chairs met via Zoom on Monday night to discuss the issue, but she said they were told not to talk to the news media.
Jason Savage, Maine GOP executive director, told The Associated Press he was unable to confirm any details.
A spokesperson for Collins didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.
A special state committee meeting can be held with 10 days’ notice with the support of 17 state committee members representing at least six counties. News of the letter discussing an emergency meeting to invoke censure was first reported by the Bangor Daily News.
Tutwiler said she expects a state committee meeting to happen “very soon.”
Without addressing procedural details, Tutwiler said she and some other Republicans are upset with Collins’ impeachment vote.
“I don’t believe that she did the right thing for the Maine people who supported her in her last run for election,” she said.
Collins has always staked out the middle ground in Maine and touts her willingness to reach across the aisle. She won reelection against Democrat Sara Gideon in November.
Even as the GOP considers rebuking her, Collins appears on mailings paid for by the Maine GOP in support of Republican William Guerrette for state senate in a special election District 14.