Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said she thinks it “would be helpful” if President Donald Trump apologized for the actions that led to his impeachment trial, shortly after announcing she would vote to acquit him on both articles of impeachment against him.
The senator appeared on CBS News on Tuesday to explain her decision in an interview with Norah O’Donnell.
O’Donnell noted that Collins had previously said Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukraine was “wrong” and that his decision to ask a foreign country for assistance to investigate a political rival was “improper.” She asked Collins if she believed the president — who was impeached in the House for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — should apologize for his actions, or at least acknowledge they were wrong.
“I think that would be helpful. President Clinton did that in 1999. It took him a while. But finally, he did apologize for his actions,” Collins answered, although she did not seem to have an appetite for a proposed vote to censure the president. “I think we’re past that point,” she said.
In a Senate floor speech earlier Tuesday, Collins announced she would vote to acquit.
“I do not believe the House has met its burden of showing that the president’s conduct, however flawed, warrants the extreme step of immediate removal from office,” she said.
On CBS, Collins reiterated this take, adding that she believed the president would be “much more cautious in the future” after his impeachment by the House.
Collins, a Senate veteran, was present during former President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial in 1999. She voted then to acquit Clinton on two articles of impeachment.
In a national address following the trial’s conclusion, Clinton said he was “profoundly sorry” for the burden his actions had placed on Congress and the nation.
Trump continues to maintain he did nothing wrong and that the call that led to his impeachment was “perfect.” When asked by the anchors of Tuesday’s State of the Union address about Collins’ assertion that he’d learned his lesson, Trump again declared he’d done nothing wrong: “It was a perfect call.”
The Senate will vote on Trump’s removal from office on Wednesday and is expected to acquit the president, with almost all Republicans set to vote in Trump’s favor.