Sen. Susan Collins said Sunday that she was “appalled” to see fellow Republican Sen. Mitt Romney was booed by members of his state party for his votes to convict Donald Trump during the former President’s impeachment trials, arguing that “just one person” does not lead the GOP.
“Mitt Romney is an outstanding senator who serves his state and our country well,” Collins, a Maine Republican, told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”
Romney was booed Saturday at the Utah Republican Party organizing convention and narrowly avoided being censured by his state party for his votes in Trump’s impeachment trials, the latest example of the influence and power the former Republican President still holds over his party as it decides how to move forward in the Biden era. But while Collins wouldn’t say who she voted for in the 2020 election, she made clear the GOP is “not a party that is led by just one person.”
Collins said Sunday that Republicans “don’t want to become like too much of the Democratic Party, which has been taken over by the progressive left,” adding, “We need to have room for a variety of views.”
Collins also defended Wyoming Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, the third ranking House GOP leader who voted to impeach Trump earlier this year, as “a woman of strength and conscience.”
“She did what she felt was right and I salute her for that,” she said of Cheney, who is facing renewed ire from her House colleagues.
Collins was one of seven Republican senators who joined with Democrats in voting to convict Trump at the conclusion of his second impeachment trial. Trump was acquitted of inciting an insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6.
Appearing on the same program Sunday, Cindy McCain, the wife of the late Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, ripped the partisan audit of the 2020 ballots from Maricopa County.
“The whole thing is ludicrous, quite frankly. It is ludicrous,” McCain told CNN. “And this comes from a state party in Arizona that refused to be audited themselves on votes that were cast within their own party communications.”
Maricopa County election officials have conducted two audits and found no evidence of widespread voter fraud and other issues. The Arizona secretary of state already certified the election results in November, showing President Joe Biden narrowly won the state over Trump.
“The election is over. Biden won. I know many of them don’t like the outcome, but elections have consequences,” McCain said.
This story has been updated with additional details Sunday.