GOP senator Susan Collins defends claim Trump ‘learned his lesson’ after first impeachment

Maine Republican voted to convict former president in second trial

Alex Woodward
New York
Monday 03 May 2021 09:17 BST
GOP senator Susan Collins defends claim Trump ‘learned his lesson’ after first impeachment

Republican Senator Susan Collins hoped Donald Trump “learned his lesson” after she voted against convicting the former president following his first impeachment trial.

She voted to convict him after he was impeached a second time earlier this year for inciting an insurrection at the US Capitol on 6 January in an attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

In an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, host Jake Tapper asked her whether she believes Mr Trump “learned a lesson” or learned “he can get away with anything”.

She claimed her “lesson” remarks came from an “interview that was grossly misedited.”

“It chopped out the rest of what I said, which was in dealing with foreign governments,” she said.

The senator made similar remarks about the former president “learning his lesson” to several outlets. Following her vote to acquit Mr Trump in February 2020, she told NBC’s Maine affiliate: “I hope that the president has learned the lesson.”

She told CBS News: “The president has been impeached. That’s a pretty big lesson. I’m voting to acquit. Because I do not believe that the behaviour alleged reaches the high bar in the constitution for overturning an election, and removing a duly elected president.”

In her interview with CNN on Sunday, she said: “But to get to your point, I’ve been involved in three impeachment trials. I voted to acquit President Clinton and President Trump the first time, to convict him the second time. In each case, what I have done is listened to the facts, applied the evidence, and follow the constitutional standard for convicting a president. My approach has not changed.”

Tapper also asked who she voted for in the 2020 election.

“Nice try, Jake,” she said, laughing. “I’m going to keep my vote private.”

Senator Collins was one of just seven Republican senators who voted to convict Mr Trump following his second impeachment. He was acquitted by a vote of 57-43, falling short of a two-third majority threshold to secure a conviction.

She said she was “appalled” that fellow GOP Senator Mitt Romney was booed by members of his state party for voting to convict the former president in his impeachment trials. The Utah Republican Party sought to censure him for his votes. That vote failed by a vote of 711 to 798.

“We are not a party that is led by just one person,” Ms Collins said.

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