A Maine newspaper columnist suggested Friday that Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine) deserved the death threats she has received during Donald Trump's presidency.
Portland Press-Herald scribe Bill Nemitz wrote that Collins should figure out why she's bothering voters so much.
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He quoted a statement from Collins's spokeswoman Annie Clark, who told the PPH that "over the past two years Senator Collins has endured death threats, threatening mailings, been confronted by people at her home late at night, been harassed in airports, at stores, when eating out, and in parking lots. She has protesters regularly at home, at her offices, and at events. She is ridiculed regularly online by people who mock her intellect, integrity, and physical characteristics."
"Maybe it’s just me, but if I was experiencing all of those things, I’d start wondering what the heck I’m doing to tick so many people off," Nemitz wrote.
The @pressherald should pull @billnemitz’s column, which very clearly says @senatorcollins deserved the death threats she’s gotten. @gregkesich, @sarahcollinspph, come on. This isn’t how we do things in Maine. #mepolitics https://t.co/EjhbEQrSVD
— Ben Lucas (@Benjaminlucas13) October 18, 2019
Collins has in the past discussed the threatening voicemails and messages she received during the fight over Justice Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D., Calif.), who launched a short-lived bid for president this year, mocked her concerns, tweeting, "Boo hoo hoo."
A Maine woman was also arrested last year for mailing powder and a threatening note to Collins.
Collins, a moderate Republican, ultimately voted to confirm Kavanaugh. She also drew criticism from the left for voting for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the GOP's tax reform bill, in 2017.
Nemitz's column was written in response to Collins's handling of a recent airport encounter with Erik Mercer, a social worker who has donated more than $16,000 to Democrats and progressive groups.
Mercer confronted Collins about his issues with President Donald Trump. Incensed that Collins had, according to him, called him "rude" after their conversation ended, Mercer took out a full-page ad for $7,200 in the Maine Sunday Telegram. In the ad, he castigated her for ignoring his questions and not having a "thoughtful discussion across ideological lines." He also complained she was evasive when he asked about her vote to confirm Kavanaugh, and what her views were on the impeachment proceedings against Trump.
The ad went viral, and Mercer launched a GoFundMe page to pay for it. He received enough donations to place another full-page ad, to Nemitz's apparent delight.
"Mercer’s second full-pager will run Sunday," Nemitz wrote. "It will include a growing list of folks from far and wide who want their names to appear alongside Mercer’s. Like the man said, that’s democracy."
Collins is one of the top Democratic targets for defeat in 2020, when she will seek a fifth term in office. Maine has not voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 1988, and Collins is currently the lone Republican senator from a New England state.