Sen. Susan Collins of Maine has become the second and most-senior Republican senator to say she will not vote for GOP nominee Donald Trump for president.
In an op-ed published online Monday night in The Washington Post, Ms. Collins said it was “not a decision I make lightly, for I am a lifelong Republican.”
The column outlined a series of common criticisms of Mr. Trump’s conduct and temperament — mocking a reporter with disabilities, feuding wioth a Muslim Gold Star family, suggesting a Mexican-American judge might not be impartial.
“My conclusion about Mr. Trump’s unsuitability for office is based on his disregard for the precept of treating others with respect, an idea that should transcend politics,” Ms. Collins wrote, noting that she had held out hope for a while that Mr. Trump might change his tone and manner after the first several such incidents.
“But the unpleasant reality that I have had to accept is that there will be no ‘new’ Donald Trump, just the same candidate who will slash and burn and trample anything and anyone he perceives as being in his way or an easy scapegoat. Regrettably, his essential character appears to be fixed, and he seems incapable of change or growth,” Ms. Collins wrote.
The Maine Republican stopped short of endorsing Democrat Hillary Clinton though, as several lower-profile Republican lawmakers and intellectuals have done.
Ms. Collins noted “the dissatisfaction with both major-party nominees — neither of whom I support.”
One other sitting Republican senator has publicly said he cannot support Mr. Trump — Mark Kirk of Illinois. Unlike Mr. Kirk though, Ms. Collins is not facing re-election this year as her term ends in 2020.