Despite the fact that Mainers protested at and called her offices for several months and signed letters demanding that she vote against Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) on Monday claimed she's received a positive response to her decision to back the right-wing extremist.
The senator told the Associated Press that the local response has been "overwhelmingly positive," claiming, "Many people have thanked me for my vote and have said that they were very pleased that I did the right thing."
But constituents in Maine have told a different story since Collins' speech last Friday, in which she suggested that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford incorrectly remembered Kavanaugh as the person who assaulted her when the two were in high school and claimed the judge had displayed an appropriate temperament for a Supreme Court justice.
"Collins is on the attack and trying to spin the narrative in her favor," the local grassroots group Mainers for Accountable Leadership wrote on Facebook. "It's infuriating and completely false."
Collins' claims have not been supported by local media. The Bangor Daily News reported that the senator was greeted by protesters when she switched planes in Philadelphia while traveling from Washington, D.C. to Maine on Saturday night following the final vote on Kavanaugh.
Upon her arrival in her home state, the newspaper reported, "Police escorted her off the flight separate from other passengers after it landed at Bangor International Airport, avoiding about 20 protesters at the airport terminal."
She also "didn't speak to about 30 protesters gathered in front of her home in Bangor" on Sunday.
As Common Dreams has reported, Collins' office in Portland, Maine was the site of outraged, sustained protests this summer and fall as Mainers demanded she vote against Kavanaugh. Protests grew following numerous allegations against the judge regarding sexual assault as well as evidence that he committed perjury during his confirmation hearings and a partisan tirade in which he claimed "the left" orchestrated the allegations and threatened, "What goes around comes around."
Over the weekend, Collins reiterated her claim on CNN's "State of the Union" that Ford was likely assaulted—but that she had somehow mis-remembered the perpetrator, both when she testified about the allegation in September and in 2012 when she spoke to a therapist about the experience. Collins' remarks were condemned on social media.
Susan Collins and her ilk knew the tactics they used to malign Anita Hill wouldn’t work, so instead of calling Dr. Ford a liar, they all agreed to say she was a victim, but too dumb or hysterical to know who her perpetrator was.
What an insult to women and survivors everywhere. https://t.co/XJaB9QS3Ez
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) October 7, 2018
Susan Collins called Dr. Ford a liar today on television. Full stop. She's a disgrace to the Senate and to Maine.
— Tom Watson (@tomwatson) October 7, 2018
in other words, Collins says Ford:
1. accurately remembers being assaulted
2. is confused about who assaulted her - that is, the guy who was on top of her, looking in her eyes and laughing https://t.co/r0dokp7gx3
— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) October 7, 2018
As Collins refused to indicate how she would vote after Kavanaugh's nomination was announced on July 9, after her colleagues expressed grave concerns that he had lied under oath, and after the allegations came out, Mainers were among the 122,000 people who made small donations to a fundraiser, that pledged to give all of the contributions to Collins' Democratic opponent in 2020. As of Monday afternoon, the fund had more than $3.5 million—far more than the $1.3 million Collins currently has on hand.
"This vote is a complete betrayal of Maine voters, of the women who have called her offices, and written letters, and organized phone banks, and attended rallies, and told their very deeply painful stories to her and her staff. I think it's the end of whatever legacy she has worked so hard to achieve as a moderate," Amy Halsted, co-director of Maine People's Alliance, which helped start the fundraiser, told Rolling Stone.
Now, Halsted said, Collins' constituents are "ready to support a senator from Maine who is going to stand up for Mainers and do what's right for the country, regardless of political party—and I think people realize Susan Collins is not that senator."