As a Republican, I’ve learned not to expect a lot from politicians. I used to think that Republicans believed in individual liberties, a limited and fiscally responsible government, and the idea that America is an exceptional country.

Now I’ve learned that a lot of them don’t really believe in all that. That’s OK; they’re allowed to change their minds. But I can’t excuse how so many of them have lied to me, over and over again.

Since Election Day, President Trump and his supporters have been lying through their teeth, claiming that he won reelection in a landslide and that nefarious forces colluded to rig the final results against him. There is no evidence this happened, and the Trump campaign’s 60 losses in courts across the country are testaments to the insanity of his claims. Despite this, a sizable portion of Americans still believe that his claims have merit.

Why? Because right-wing media icons and Republican politicians, catering to their viewers and their base voters, have been going along with Trump’s lies and not speaking the truth clearly: that Joe Biden won a free and fair election.

Trump’s constant lying was the first step in the insurrection that culminated in the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6. Having convinced people of something that wasn’t true, the president assembled them in a mob, urged them to “stop the steal” and remarked, “When you catch somebody in a fraud, you’re allowed to go by very different rules.” He then directed his frenzied followers to march to the Capitol. We all know what happened next.

The good news is that Republicans of principle have been speaking out against Trump’s lies, including our own Sen. Susan Collins.


Shortly before the media declared Biden the apparent winner, Sen. Collins issued a statement that reads in part: “Allegations of irregularities can be adjudicated by the courts. We must all respect the outcome of elections.”

Shortly after Biden’s victory, she said, “Presidential transitions are important, and the President-elect and the Vice-President-elect should be given every opportunity to ensure that they are ready to govern on January 20th.”

While many of her Republican colleagues were busy sowing doubts about the election and refusing to denounce Trump’s lies, Sen. Collins decided to stand on the side of truth and patriotism. I want to thank her for honesty.

I also want to thank Sen. Collins for speaking out against the insane attempts from some Republicans to overturn the results of the election by objecting to the certification of Electoral College votes on Jan. 6. On the day the Capitol was stormed, she said, “Counting the votes of the electors — a function that the 12th Amendment assigns to Congress — is an administrative and largely ceremonial act … We should not attempt to usurp the roles of the voters, the states, or the Electoral College.” Her words are clear and unequivocal — usurping the role of the voters by objecting to their votes is immoral and unconstitutional.

Now, it’s time for Sen. Collins to continue her principled stand and vote to convict President Trump for inciting an insurrection against the Capitol. Ten House Republicans, many of whom come from deeply red districts, had the courage to do the right thing and vote to impeach Trump on that very charge.

We all watched what happened on Jan. 6. The president’s speech that day was the culmination of a months-long campaign to convince his supporters to take matters into their own hands, to “stop the steal.”

Sen. Collins and her Republican colleagues must vote to convict, and to disqualify him from holding future office. This, and only this, will send a message to future presidents who might try similar undemocratic maneuvers: We are a nation of laws.

Sen. Collins, please follow your conscience and do the right thing. Vote to convict.

Riley Spear is a Republican from Fairfield.

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