WATERVILLE, Maine – Sen. Susan Collins said Friday that she doesn’t believe former President Donald Trump’s 2024 bid for president is good for the country or the Republican Party.
“I don’t,” she said when asked that question on Friday following an event celebrating a downtown Waterville revitalization project. “We have many better candidates, and those candidates should come forth, and may the best person win.”
Collins’ comments came as Republicans across Maine and the U.S. have declined to support Trump’s third bid for president, with the most frequently suggested alternative for 2024 being Florida Gov. Ron Ron DeSantis.
In terms of those “better candidates,” the first name Collins gave was Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor who served as United Nations ambassador under Trump. She also cited South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, a Senate ally whom she even brought to Waterville in 2020. DeSantis, she noted, “has a lot of support,” and she also mentioned former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
While she doesn’t think Trump would be a strong candidate, she said his former vice president, Mike Pence, would, citing the “integrity” he showed in certifying election results for President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris despite pressure from Trump not to.
Collins has long distanced herself from Trump, whom she voted to convict in his second impeachment trial held after Trump left office in 2021. A conviction following that trial would have made Trump ineligible to run for president again.
However, Collins wouldn’t totally shoot down the idea of backing Trump in 2024 in an interview with ABC News earlier this year, though she did say it was “not likely.”
Trump has often criticized Collins, saying earlier this year that her unexpectedly strong victory against former Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon in 2020 came because he held back criticism of her during the campaign.