- Pro-choice Sen. Susan Collins backed Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court in 2018.
- Trump officials privately mocked Collins for being easy to manipulate into supporting him, per a Rolling Stone report.
- Officials called her a “cheap date,” the report says. Collins’ spokesperson condemned the “sexist language.”
Trump officials privately mocked pro-choice Sen. Susan Collins for being manipulated into backing then-Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh, sources told Rolling Stone.
Although Kavanaugh said at the time that he considered Roe v Wade to be “settled law,” he has since reportedly agreed to support a draft opinion overturning the landmark abortion ruling.
“The thinking from Trump and everybody else who worked to make this happen was that, as long as his nominees didn’t say anything stupid and let the Susan Collins-es of the world think what they needed to think and hear what they needed to hear, then it would get done,” a former Trump official speaking under the condition of anonymity told Rolling Stone.
Some Trump administration officials privately mocked the senior senator from Maine for her public support of Roe, crassly referring to her as a “cheap date,” sources told the outlet.
In response to the “cheap date” comment, Collins’ spokesperson Annie Clark told Rolling Stone: “That kind of sexist language is abhorrent.”
Collins’ team also denied the allegation that the senator was manipulated into voting for Kavanaugh.
“Senator Collins has voted to confirm six of the current nine Supreme Court Justices, as well as Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. She considered the Kavanaugh nomination with a rigorous review process and an open mind. Any allegation to the contrary is false,” her spokesperson said.
After Politico leaked the draft opinion that would overturn Roe v Wade, the moderate Maine Republican senator expressed surprise at Kavanaugh’s stance.
“If this leaked draft opinion is the final decision and this reporting is accurate, it would be completely inconsistent with what Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh said in their hearings and in our meetings in my office,” Collins said in a statement at the time, per CNN.
According to the Rolling Stone report, Trump officials targeted certain senators to rally support for Kavanaugh. However, they believed that a pressure campaign against Collins would backfire, and the best approach was to leave Kavanaugh’s stance on abortion law vague.
A former top Trump aide told Rolling Stone that the belief was that Collins would decide to vote “yes” on her own as long as she got the correct responses from Kavanaugh.
During mock hearings and prep sessions that the Trump administration held for Kavanaugh, the then-prospective justice would avoid revealing how he would vote if an opportunity to overturn Roe arose.
Instead, he would give “lengthy, detailed monologues on dissents, opinions, and precedents,” Rolling Stone reported.
“It was instinct,” a person familiar with the matter told Rolling Stone. “Everyone in the room knew that when a [Trump] nominee says something about ‘precedent’ [in regards to Roe], pro-lifers know what that really means. If someone else [such as Susan Collins] wanted to interpret that differently, that’s their choice.”