MSNBC visits Maine to pick Sen. Collins' brain

BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Sen. Susan Collins' importance as a Republican swing vote in the U.S. Senate has the national media beating a path to her doorstep.

NBC correspondent Hallie Jackson traveled to Bangor on Monday morning to host a live interview with Collins on MSNBC. Their conversation covered a wide range of topics touching on the war in Afghanistan, the opioid epidemic and her working relationship with Pres. Donald Trump.

Asked about her reaction to Pres. Trump's handling of the racial unrest Charlottesville, Virginia, Sen. Collins said, "In this case, I think the President failed to meet the standard that we would have expected a President to do in a time like that."

Jackson pressed further to ask Collins if she could foresee herself withholding support for Pres. Trump as he seeks reelection in 2020. Collins reminded Jackson that she didn't support Trump in 2016 and instead wrote Rep. Paul Ryan's name onto her ballot. Of the 2020 race, Collins would only say, "It's far too early to tell now. There's a long way between now and that point."

The healthcare debate was another area of contention between Sen. Collins and Pres. Trump. Although her repeated "no" votes helped kill the Republican plan to replace Obamacare, Collins expressed her hope that the bills being considered in Congress will address the serious flaws in Obamacare and ultimately make it work better.

Collins admitted to Jackson that she hasn't yet decided what role she'll pursue as her political career moves forward. With her many years of service in the Senate, Collins said her seniority is an asset. But the opportunity to work more directly with Mainers as Governor also sounded appealing to her. "I'm weighing where I can do the most good for the people of Maine," Collins said.

© 2017 WCSH-TV


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