It's a bit early for high-profile defections from a losing presidential candidate with 90 days to go until the election, or it would be if the candidate was anyone other than Donald Trump. Today's contestant bailing on the Trump Train? Maine GOP Sen. Susan Collins.
Donald Trump lost the support of another Republican lawmaker on Monday, with Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) stating she would not vote for her party’s presidential nominee in a Washington Post op-ed published on Monday night.
“With the passage of time, I have become increasingly dismayed by his constant stream of cruel comments and his inability to admit error or apologize,” Collins wrote. “But it was his attacks directed at people who could not respond on an equal footing — either because they do not share his power or stature or because professional responsibility precluded them from engaging at such a level — that revealed Mr. Trump as unworthy of being our president.”
She specifically mentioned Trump’s verbal attacks against Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the bereaved parents of US Army Capt. Humayun Khan who criticized him at the Democratic National Convention.
“Rather than honoring their sacrifice and recognizing their pain, Mr. Trump disparaged the religion of the family of an American hero,” Collins stated. “And once again, he proved incapable of apologizing, of saying he was wrong.”
She also cited Trump’s rhetoric concerning federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel and his mockery of reporter Serge Kovaleski late last year, arguing that Trump has shown a refusal to tone himself down in the general election.
“Regrettably, his essential character appears to be fixed, and he seems incapable of change or growth,” she said.
This is how badly Trump has damaged the Republican brand in 2016.
Now, Collins isn't up for re-election this year, but in a state where the other senator is an independent like Angus King, Collins trashing Trump without saying she'll support Hillary Clinton only makes sense, especially in a state where Clinton is ahead. Still, this is a sitting Republican senator saying she will not vote for the party's standard-bearer, and that's definitely not good for Trump.
We'll see who else starts jumping off the Trump Train in the weeks ahead. My guess is we'll see a lot more Republicans in the House and Senate do so in an effort to provide downticket cover for their colleagues up for re-election.