U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, meets with community leaders Friday at the Hains Building on Main Street in Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

WATERVILLE — U.S. Sen. Susan Collins appeared in Waterville on Friday with U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., touting the revitalization of the downtown district and visiting small businesses in the midst of her reelection campaign.

Collins also touched on national topics as she and Scott took questions in the ground floor hallway of Waterville’s Hathaway Creative Center.

Collins talked about President Donald Trump’s recent coronavirus diagnosis, the president’s standing in the polls and the possibility of meeting with Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s controversial nominee to the Supreme Court, despite Collins’ opposition to nominating a new Supreme Court judge before the Nov. 3 election.

Here are five takeaways from the national topics she talked about Friday.

• Collins found out about President Trump and first lady Melania Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis this morning. “I am obviously very sorry to hear they are impacted by the coronavirus, and I wish them a quick, speedy and full recovery,” she said.

• Collins and Scott agreed they want to see more coronavirus testing across the country. Collins said the federal government “needs to step up” to provided more accessible testing, especially at nursing homes. Collins and Scott also talked about Abbott’s test manufacturing facilities in Scarborough and Westbrook that are producing tests that provide results in 15 minutes.


“I think if we instituted that and rigorously instituted that, then we’d allow more families to visit loved ones in nursing homes,” Collins said, “because there’s nothing that is sadder than seeing someone who is dying in a nursing home and all the family can try to do is wave from the window.”

“I believe that we need a billion-plus tests available,” Scott said. “The facts are simple. Testing matters and having more of it is a good thing and having less of it is a bad thing.”

• In a response to a question about why President Trump trails in the polls, Collins talked about his leadership style. Before answering the question, Collins said she was mostly focusing on her own campaign.

“I think perhaps his style is not what Maine people are used to in their leaders. It’s certainly very different from my own. That does not, however, take away from some of the economic accomplishments that the president has had.” She also pointed to his style that “we saw in the debate,” before qualifying “on both sides.”

• Collins said she would meet with Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court, if requested.

• In the same breath, Collins called into question some recent talk disparaging religion, as Barrett is a practicing Catholic.

“I am appalled by the number of anti-Catholic comments and anti-religion comments that are being made about Judge Barrett,” Collins said. “Maybe it offends me in particular since I’m a Catholic. But I saw one Maine newspaper had a headline that said, ‘Trump nominated Catholic to the court.’ Now, if a Protestant had been nominated, do you think it would’ve said, ‘Trump nominates Protestant to the court?’ Or if it had been a Jewish person, it would not have been mentioned. This attack on religion, I think, is abhorrent. I can’t believe that in the year 2020 that we still have this anti-Catholic, anti-religion … applied. I had hoped that when John F. Kennedy had been elected as president, we were past that.”

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