‘I have a little something to tell you’: President Donald Trump shakes hands with Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, during the annual Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2021.
Collins, who was diagnosed with a form of cancer this year, announced last week she would not seek re-election in 2020, and Trump said Wednesday that Collins’ decision was “a very, very big deal.”
Collins, a moderate Republican who is one of Trump’s closest allies, announced her decision Thursday after receiving the Purple Heart from President Donald J. Trump for her battle with breast cancer.
(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (AP) Collins is one-third of the way through her third cancer diagnosis, and her health struggles have become an ongoing political battle.
Her decision to not seek reelection was widely seen as a reflection of her political frailties and her willingness to be more politically active, but Trump said she was not going to be taking her meds.
“Senator Collins is the most brilliant person I have ever known.
She is the best person to serve in the Senate,” Trump said during a news conference with Collins on Thursday.
Collins was a top supporter of Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign, and Collins has repeatedly praised Trump for his policies and his administration.
In a letter sent to Trump in July, Collins thanked him for “all you have done to help us heal.”
But in an interview with CNN on Wednesday, Collins said she “wasn’t prepared to do anything” for herself, and that she had been unable to find the time to participate in the White Houses administration as well as to care for her family.
She has not yet disclosed whether she plans to retire.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Collins’ retirement comes as her party has been deeply divided on Trump.
The GOP is led by Vice President Mike Pence, and GOP leaders are united in rejecting Trump’s Cabinet picks.
They are also united in criticizing Collins, and some Democrats, who are hoping for a more progressive stance from Collins, have been urging her to retire, especially after Trump called Collins a “weak” senator during the campaign.
Collins has called on Trump to resign.
In her letter to the president, Collins also expressed frustration with the White Senate and its leadership, particularly White House press secretary Sean Spicer.
Spicer has repeatedly defended Trump’s handling of the FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and he has repeatedly claimed that his aides have been the ones who were the targets of the investigation.
Collins called Spicer’s statements “outrageous and unacceptable.”
She said she will continue to do so, despite the fact that Spicer has “done nothing but protect President Trump from any questions about his behavior.”
The two leaders have not spoken since Spicer resigned on Feb. 1, three days after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey.
Trump has defended Spicer’s job performance, saying he did a “phenomenal job” and is the “greatest press secretary I’ve ever had.”
But Collins said that Spicer “has been a complete disgrace” in his role, and she has called him “out of control” in her letter.
“He’s out of control.
He’s out to get me.
He has a habit of coming up with lies, and I don’t like him,” Collins wrote.
Collins and other Democrats, including Sens.
Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, have called for Trump to be impeached.
“I think he is guilty of obstruction of justice, and the President should be impeach him,” Gillibrard told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“But the more important question is whether the President is guilty enough to be indicted.
And the answer is no.”