Just minutes before President Barack Obama addressed the nation on Syria U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R- Maine, said she could not support a Senate resolution authorizing U.S. military action in the civil war-torn nation.
Moments later, U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine, joined in saying he would oppose a unilateral strike by the U.S.
"I have many concerns about deepening U.S. involvement in the Syrian conflict because our country could find itself slowly entangled in an increasingly dangerous and protracted civil war," Collins said in a prepared statement. "I don’t think U.S. involvement would end with just one military strike."
Earlier Tuesday, a group of prominent Maine Republicans, including the assistant minority leader in the state's House of Representatives, is urging U.S. Sen. Susan Collins to vote against any military action in Syria.
"Syria is caught up in a dangerous civil war, and while events unfolding in that region are undeniably tragic, the use of military force by the United States will not improve the situation," the group of 108 wrote in a letter to Collins on Monday.
"There are no “good” sides in this conflict. President Obama’s current plan to intervene in Syria will do little to improve the circumstances of the Syrian people. A merely symbolic show of force, which could have unforeseen consequences that ripple across the region and the world, is not the answer. There are no good outcomes foreseen in any such action," the letter said.
Collins and a group of Senate Republicans met with Obama on Tuesday afternoon, according to her spokesman in Washington, Kevin Kelley. It is likely Obama made his final pitch for GOP support in the Senate.
Rep. Alex Willette, R-Mapleton, the Maine House assistant minority leader, is the highest ranking signatory. Willette, who was in Washington on Tuesday on other business, said he earlier sent a personal letter to the state's entire Congressional delegation.
A missile strike against Syria may be "symbolic," Willette said via cellphone Tuesday. "But I just think it would have some consequences that would ripple across that region and it isn't good for American foreign policy."
Collins, a bellwether as the U.S. Senate's leading GOP moderate, told reporters Monday evening that she was "leaning against" the resolution despite spending three hours at Vice President Joe Biden's home Sunday night with a group of fellow Senate Republicans discussing the Syria issue. Obama joined the group for an hour.
In her statement Tuesday evening Collins was clear she opposed the president's plan and instead focus on diplomacy, including considering a plan offered by Russia to have Syria turn over it's chemical weapons stockpile to the international community.
"It certainly is preferable to launching a military strike on a country that has not attacked us," Collins said. "The United States' goal should be to get the chemical stockpiles out of Syria so that the Assad regime can no longer use them to harm or kill innocent civilians."
The group of Maine Republicans that signed the letter urging Collins to oppose a military strike included a number of current and former state lawmakers as well as Maine Republican Party officials and candidates for office.
The letter was drafted by state Senate District 20 candidate Eric Brakey, a New Gloucester Republican. According to Brakey, the letter has been signed by 48 or two-thirds of the Maine Republican State Committee.
In a written statement, Brakey echoed Willette's concern.
"A merely symbolic show of force, which could have unforeseen consequences that ripple across the region and the world, is not the answer," he said.
Other signers include state Sen. Garrett Mason, R-Lisbon Falls; state Rep. Jeff Timberlake, R-Turner; Rep. Dale Crafts, R-Lisbon; and Rep. Gary Knight, R-Livermore Falls.
Prominent Maine Democrats were also saying they were in opposition to the strike Tuesday, including U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine.
Michaud, a Democratic candidate for governor in Maine in 2014, said he spent the last week evaluating the situation and decided it was not in the best interests of the U.S. to strike Syria.
“I do not believe the case has been made for a unilateral military solution to the crisis in Syria and, at this time, I would vote ‘no’ on a congressional resolution that authorizes such force," Michaud said in a prepared statement also issued moments before Obama's address.
"Based on the information I’ve now had a chance to see, I am not convinced that we should take military action. In addition, I have heard from thousands of Mainers who have told me they do not want to get embroiled in another war in the Middle East," Michaud said.
Information from the Washington Post was used in this report.