Sen. Susan Collins on Wednesday reaffirmed her position that she will not endorse her party’s presumptive presidential nominee until he “changes his approach.”

Speaking to CNN’s Chris Cuomo, Maine’s Republican senator called on Donald Trump to apologize for comments he made last week. The real estate mogul implied that the Mexican heritage of a judge assigned to a case involving Trump’s embattled Trump University meant that the judge could not be impartial. Many have called Trump’s comments racist, including Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Collins had come out forcefully against Trump’s comments Monday, calling them “absolutely unacceptable.” In an interview with the Press Herald on Tuesday, Collins said Trump is forcing Republicans to talk about subjects other than policy.

“I like public policy and would much prefer to be discussing the appropriations bill that I managed on the floor or the work we’re doing in the health committee to create innovative medical research … or any number of other things,” she said. “Like so many Americans, I am struggling to figure out the presidential race. This has been the most unpredictable race that I’ve seen since I’ve been eligible to vote.”

Collins, one of a shrinking number of moderate Republican senators, is being watched closely on how she handles Trump, whose approach to politics is quite different from hers. She has said repeatedly that she has always supported her party’s nominee, but also has acknowledged that Trump is testing that party loyalty.

“I would love to be able to endorse Donald Trump, but he really has to change the approach that he’s taken,” she told CNN. “If I were giving him advice, I would tell him he should own up to making mistakes. He should apologize to the judge and to the American people. And he should stop insulting people.”


Trump has not apologized for his comments. His campaign issued a statement Tuesday indicating that the candidate would stop talking about the judge, but the statement blamed the media for misconstruing his words.

Either way, Collins appears to be withholding her support of Trump indefinitely, even as others in her party – including Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois – have said they will never support him.

“He is the one who needs to start acting more presidential and articulate more clearly what a Trump presidency would look like,” Collins said on CNN. “So frankly, I really think the burden is on him to put forward a far more positive message.”


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