On Sunday, The New York Times quoted Sen. Susan Collins as saying that “no one should be afraid of President Trump, period.”
On Monday, the former President struck back at the Maine Republican. Here’s his statement, in full:
“Funny thing about Susan Collins, who is absolutely atrocious, and has been for a long time, I won Maine 2, by a lot, and those hard working people attended a rally of many thousands. Just one word about her and the fact that she didn’t help the fisherman, as their rights were taken from them from the federal government, and the lumberjacks, she would have had no chance to win. But I remained silent and positive and allowed her to have her victory. She would have lost in a landslide. Gee, aren’t I nice?”
Most of that statement is the usual Trump bullying and braggadocio. No surprise there.
But Trump’s claim that he could have somehow cost Collins the election with a single negative word bears further scrutiny – mostly because it is absolutely and totally ridiculous.
Let’s start with some basic math.
In 2020, both Trump and Collins were on the ballot in Maine. Trump lost the state by nine points (53%-44%) to Joe Biden. Collins, on the other hand, won her race against Democrat Sara Gideon by a 51%-42% margin. That means Collins over-performed Trump’s vote share by 7 points statewide.
But what about in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, where Trump said he won “by a lot” and where “just one word about her” would have cost Collins a victory?
Well, Trump did win the massive central and northern Maine seat 52% to 45%. But Collins beat Gideon 59% to 35% in the district. And again, because math, we can conclude that Trump’s 7-point margin in the 2nd District is less than Collins’ 24-point margin.
What about Trump’s claims about turning fishermen and lumberjacks against Collins with just a single word? The Hill has more of the back story on that:
“The Environmental Protection Agency under Trump proposed a rule to give the fishing industry more time to adopt cleaner engines. And Trump issued a memo directing the Department of Agriculture to review giving financial aid to lobstermen who were hurt financially by his trade war with China.
“Collins, however, supported both efforts, praising the proposed EPA rule as a ‘commonsense solution’ and has regularly supported federal aid for her home state’s fishing industry, including $300 million for fishermen that was part of the March 2020 COVID relief package.”
To put a fine point on all of this: Trump has absolutely no idea what he is talking about. He’s flat wrong in his contention that he could have doomed Collins’ reelection chances with a single negative word. The numbers makes clear that Collins drastically over-performed Trump both statewide and in the 2nd District. In fact, it’s reasonable to conclude that had he not been leading the ticket, she might have won a 5th term even more easily than she did since Democrats spent millions trying to link her to the unpopular Trump.
There’s simply nothing even remotely right in Trump’s statement on Collins. It’s a clean sweep of falsehood.