Susan Collins Urges GOP to Focus on Principles Not 'One Particular Leader'

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) has said the GOP should focus on its "guiding principles" rather than "one particular leader," as she defender her vote to convict Donald Trump amid criticism from some Republicans.

Collins was one of seven Republicans who voted against Trump at his second Senate impeachment trial, in which he was acquitted following a 57-43 vote—it would have taken 67 votes to reach the two-thirds majority needed to convict.

There have been suggestions the Maine GOP could move to censure Collins over her vote, with other Republicans who went against Trump also facing such backlash.

Responding to this in an interview with News Center Maine, Collins said: "I would point out that I am the sole remaining Republican office holder at the federal level in all of New England. There were 19 when I first started out. And that tells me that we should focus on growing our party.

"I think that we need to send a message that you can be a good Republican and not necessarily agree with every position taken by the party. We need to get back to focusing on the principles that unite Republicans. So individual responsibility and freedom and strong national defense, smaller government, support for our small businesses, opportunity.

"Those are guiding principles of our party and I think that's where our focus needs to be rather than on one particular leader."

Commenting on the reaction she has had to her vote, Collins said this has been "mixed."

While she said some have thanked her for her vote, there have been Republicans who have been "very unhappy with my vote and have let me know that as well."

She said this is what she expected, and again defended her vote.

"What I just want to assure people is that I took my constitutional duty very seriously, that this came down to my fulfilling my oath to the constitution and it was a vote of conscience," she said.

This comes after the former president's defense team and other Republicans argued that the trial itself was not constitutional due to Trump no longer being in office.

Other Republicans who voted to acquit Trump have raised this point.

After her vote to convict, Collins previously said that in her opinion "Trump bears significant responsibility for the invasion of the Capitol."

Following Trump's acquittal, he released a statement hinting at continued political work.

"Our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun," he said. "In the months ahead I have much to share with you, and I look forward to continuing our incredible journey together to achieve American greatness for all of our people."

Newsweek has contacted Collins' office and the Maine GOP for comment.

susan collins leaving impeachment trial day three
Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) speaks to reporters as she leaves after House impeachment prosecutors wrapped up their case on the third day of the second impeachment trial of former U.S. President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill February 11, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Collins voted to convict, and has defended this decision despite some backlash from Republicans. Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images