Sen. Susan Collins said Thursday that she will not vote for former President Donald Trump in his third bid for the presidency.

The five-term Republican said she “cannot support” the ex-president and likely Republican nominee, taking a stance that is at odds with most of her party.

Collins endorsed former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley in her unsuccessful challenge to Trump. She also was one of seven Republican senators to vote to convict Trump following his second impeachment in January 2021 on charges that he incited the mob that overran the Capitol.

“I don’t think it should surprise anyone that I will not support him,” she said.

Collins, who toured the Malone Family Tower at Maine Medical Center in Portland and touted the $3 million in federal funding she secured for the health center, said she will not leave the Republican Party. In an interview on CNN, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, a vocal critic of Trump who said she also will not support him, left open the possibility she would become an independent who caucuses with Republicans.


“I am navigating my way through some very interesting political times,” Murkowski said. “Let’s just leave it at that.”

Collins, who said Murkowski is “one of my closest friends in the Senate,” said she sees herself as “very much in the mold of a New England Republican.” She listed three Republican senators who have retired over the years – Olympia Snowe of Maine, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire and John Chafee of Rhode Island – as evidence she’s part of a vanishing breed of the once-dominant Republican Party in New England that has shriveled over the decades.

“There used to be a lot of us,” Collins said. “I am now the only Republican left in the Senate for the Northeast. I have to go to West Virginia or Ohio before I can find another Republican senator. I don’t think that’s good for our country. I think it’s important both caucuses hear the concerns of a region or a state.”

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins answers reporters’ questions after a tour on the new Malone Family Tower at Maine Medical Center in Portland on Thursday. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Collins said she does not know how she will vote in November. She said she’s “not happy with President Biden’s administration.” Collins laughed when asked if she’d consider casting a ballot for Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is mounting an independent campaign for president. “I don’t see myself voting for RFK,” she said.

“Like many Mainers, I don’t like the choice that appears to be coming our way since I do not think either President Trump or President Biden should be president.

“I don’t know what I shall do. It’s a long ways between now and November.”

Republican Sen. Todd Young, of Indiana, also has said he would not endorse Trump.

In addition to the difference in party and ideology between Collins and Biden, she has opposed a greater percentage of his nominees for federal judicial positions than she did for nominees brought forward by any of the four previous presidents. She also helped sink the nomination of Biden’s top budget adviser in 2021 and joined a unified Republican caucus in the Senate to oppose a Biden proposal for a COVID-19 relief package, also in 2021.

Collins backed Trump’s efforts to stay on Maine’s March 5 primary ballot after Secretary of State Shenna Bellows removed him after finding that his actions before the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol violated the insurrection clause of the U.S. Constitution. Collins said Maine voters should decide who wins the election.

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