Susan Collins has long been the Neville Chamberlain of the so-called moderate right. The Maine senator has always pitched herself as a rare Republican who will reach across the aisle, and while she sometimes breaks rank — she was one of too few Rs who voted for Trump’s second impeachment, which didn’t clear the Senate — but more often she doesn’t. She infamously okayed Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court, and after Trump’s first impeachment — which she didn’t vote for — she bizarrely claimed he’d “learned his lesson.” (Spoiler: He didn’t.)
So naturally Collins poo-poohed the ongoing Jan. 6 committee. On Sunday she went on CNN, where she said she was “very disappointed” that the probe into the Capitol siege wasn’t as bipartisan as it could have been. Did that mean she was angry with Republicans, who shot such a committee down a number of weeks back? Nope. She put the blame on Democrats. “We should have had a 9/11-style commission, to fully look at what happened.”
Susan Collins says on CNN that she thinks it was wrong for Pelosi to pick which Republicans serve on the Jan 6 committee, suggests she wasn’t troubled by the idea of material witness Jim Jordan serving on it because “there were many communications with President Trump” on Jan 6 pic.twitter.com/fn2vyGYc2e
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 1, 2021
Tapper didn’t let her argument slide. “Mitch McConnell opposed it, that’s why it didn’t happen,” he reminded her. He also pointed out that, despite her calling it a “partisan” committee, there are two Republicans on it: representatives Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney.
“I respect both of them, but I do not think it was right for the speaker to decide which Republicans should be on the committee,” Collins replied, referring to Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s picks, including Jim Banks and Jim Jordan, both of whom Pelosi deemed unfit.
But Tapper didn’t let that slide either. He reminded her that both Banks and McCarthy are “election liars,” and that Jordan — who recently confessed that he spoke with Trump on Jan. 6, though he seemed to pretend that he couldn’t remember when — is possibly a material witness. But Collins tried to downplay that.
“There were many communications with President Trump that day,” she replied. She did clear a very low bar indeed, which is that those who stormed the Capitol were clearly inspired by the former president’s words.
While the rioters are primarily responsible for what happened, there’s no doubt in my mind that President Trump helped instigate and motivate the rioters,” she allowed.
What Tapper didn’t come and say is that she’d fallen right into McCarthy’s hands. No doubt that, by stocking his portion of the committee with lawmakers who believe the election was stolen — and who would turn it into a circus — he was hoping Pelosi would deny their involvement. And then someone like Collins would go on a place like CNN and claim that Pelosi, not McCarthy, was in the wrong for not being more bipartisan.
Collins’ words weren’t surprising. After all, some on social media pointed out, she almost always falls for what those on her side of the aisle claim.
Nope. Susan Collins is the ultimate and quintessential Lucy with the football.. https://t.co/XO3jdi6kYT
— Martina Navratilova (@Martina) August 1, 2021
Some dwelled on her curious defense of Jim Jordan, which wasn’t quite the rebuttal she was hoping for.
Well if Susan Collins says there were “many communications” with Trump on January 6 — then it looks like we need “many” subpoenas. First subpoena the White House call log, then subpoena everyone who talked to Trump that day. And the day before. For starters.
— Tristan Snell (@TristanSnell) August 1, 2021
Susan Collins being troubled by Nancy Pelosi rejecting Jim Jordan’s nomination to the January 6th Commission, while, at the same time, expressing concern for the conflict of interest posed by material witnesses serving on it is PEAK SUSAN COLLINS.
— A Hopeful Citizen (@ThePubliusUSA) August 1, 2021
Jake Tapper tells Susan Collins that, “Jim Jordan could be a material witness” for speaking to the Former Guy on January 6th, which is 𝙒𝙃𝙔 Speaker Pelosi vetoed him from the select committee.
Susan Collins’ reply is that many people talked to the Former Guy that day. Ok
— Jake Lobin (@JakeLobin) August 1, 2021
Susan Collins has dropped her paper-thin mask entirely. She’s in favor of putting insurrectionist treason co-conspirator Jim Jordan on the Jan. 6 commission. https://t.co/gv17YVVuUY
— Eric Garland (@ericgarland) August 1, 2021
Susan Collins must think that Jim Jordan “learned his lesson”.
— Renee Libby (@ReneeAlida) August 1, 2021
Speaking of learning lessons, some drudged up her defense of Donald J. Trump.
Susan Collins, who infamously said Trump learned his lesson after his first impeachment, isn’t a credible commentator on corruption investigations. https://t.co/09kUTz6hFl
— Ahmed Baba (@AhmedBaba_) August 1, 2021
And her support for Kavanaugh.
REMINDER: Susan Collins helped put Brett Kavanaugh on SCOTUS and she thought the former guy learned his lesson, so her disappointment with Jim Jordan not being on the 1/6 Committee is totally on brand.
— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) August 1, 2021
As long as I live, I will never forgive Susan Collins for allowing Brett Kavanaugh to become a Supreme Court Justice. Anyone with me?
— Andrea Junker (@Strandjunker) August 1, 2021
And her other faults.
For those keeping count, Susan Collins:
Voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh
Helped repeal the ACA individual mandate
Voted for tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest Americans that ballooned the deficit
Enabled Trump and fascism for 4 years
— Protect Robert Mueller (@DisavowTrump20) August 1, 2021
Some refused to believe she was even a true moderate.
For the 100th time, here’s a reminder that Susan Collins is not a moderate. She is just as radical as the rest of them. https://t.co/VBXBryclCm
— Brett Meiselas (@BMeiselas) August 1, 2021
We’re still a ways away from the committee concluding its fact-finding mission, but the odds are good that whatever they turn up, Collins will claim the day’s perpetrators will learn some valuable lessons.