Susan Collins defends Romney, Cheney: ‘We are not a party that is led by just one person’

Susan Collins defends Romney, Cheney: ‘We are not a party that is led by just one person’

Republican Sen. Susan Collins said Sunday that she was “appalled” by the Utah GOP’s attempt to censure Sen. Mitt Romney for his votes to convict former President Donald Trump.

The resolution to censure the former GOP presidential nominee failed Saturday at the Utah Republican Party organizing convention, where Romney was also booed earlier in the day.

“We are not a party that is led by just one person,” Collins (R-Maine) said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” referring to Trump. “There are many prominent, upcoming younger men and women in our party who hold great promise for leading us, and I think all of us who abide by [Republican] principles should remember Ronald Reagan’s admonition to Republicans that the person who agrees with you 70 or 80 percent of the time is your friend, not your enemy.”

Collins herself was the subject of a censure effort in March by Maine Republicans, upset at her votes to convict Trump. That effort also failed.

Collins also went to bat for Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), who was censured by her state’s Republican Party in February for her vote to impeach Trump. Cheney has continued to face criticism for speaking out about the role she feels Trump played in the Jan. 6 insurrection. And tensions heightened this week as Cheney, who hasn’t ruled out a presidential run in 2024, said some of the senators who “led the unconstitutional charge, not to certify the election” should be disqualified from the 2024 field.

Cheney also took heat this week after leaning in and fist-bumping with President Joe Biden as he made his way down the aisle for his speech to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday. She went to Twitter to defend herself, posting: “I disagree strongly w/@JoeBiden policies, but when the President reaches out to greet me in the chamber of the US House of Representatives, I will always respond in a civil, respectful & dignified way. We’re different political parties. We’re not sworn enemies. We’re Americans.”

The intraparty rift has been evident, with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy declining to say whether Cheney was still a good fit for his leadership team, saying that it’s a question for the House GOP conference. Members voted less than three months ago to keep Cheney in her leadership spot, at McCarthy’s own urging.

“Liz Cheney is a woman of strength and conscience. And she did what she felt was right and I salute her for that,” Collins said. “We need to be accepting of differences in our party. We don’t want to become like too much of the Democratic Party, which has been taken over by the progressive left.”

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