When Sen. Susan Collins issued her troubling statement following former President Trump’s felony conviction, I decided not to write to the Press Herald expressing my concerns. In our deeply divided times, what was to be gained?

But when Sen. Collins and her spokesperson decided to insult the intelligence of Mainers by claiming her statement decrying the supposedly political nature of the Trump prosecution – issued only after Trump was convicted – showed no disrespect for the judicial system, I was moved to set the record straight.

One would think Sen. Collins would have paused before weighing in on Trump’s conviction for falsifying business records to conceal hush money payments to a porn star just before the 2016 presidential election. After all, it was Sen. Collins who memorably excused her vote to acquit then President Trump in his first impeachment trial by expressing her belief that Trump had “learned a pretty big lesson” from the impeachment.

After a second impeachment, an insurrection and four felony indictments, that prediction has not aged well. The only lesson Trump learned, which the senator’s recent statement reaffirms, is that he can do whatever he likes – and virtually all Republicans, no matter how supposedly “moderate,” will get in line behind him.

And who can forget our proudly pro-choice senator telling us that we were mistaken to fear that a Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade? In her press release explaining her confirmation vote, Sen. Collins noted that Roe had been decided 45 years ago, and reaffirmed 19 years later, and she had “asked Judge Kavanaugh whether the passage of time is relevant to following precedent.” According to our senator, the judge’s assurance to her that “honoring precedent is essential to maintaining public confidence” would outweigh Trump’s campaign pledge to nominate only judges who would overturn Roe. Let’s just say our senator is no Nostradamus.

With this track record, one would have thought that if Sen. Collins could not bring herself to repeat her statement expressing confidence in our system of justice, she might have remained silent. Instead, the senator wants us to know that her only statement criticizing New York’s prosecution of Trump, which she issued only after a jury of his peers unanimously voted to convict him, was not an attack on our justice system.

Really? Then why did Sen. Collins issue her statement right after the jury she claims she was “not attacking” rendered its verdict? Likewise, Sen. Collins’ spokesperson wants us to believe the senator’s accusation that the Manhattan district attorney unfairly targeted former President Trump was not an attack on “the judge, the jury, or the judicial system.” That’s odd – I always thought government prosecutors were part of our “judicial system.”

It is disappointing that Sen. Collins continues to feel it necessary to come to the defense of Trump. The one silver lining to this unfortunate episode is that Sunday’s Press Herald report and the recent stream of letters to the editor demonstrate that Mainers know better.

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