According to a report from Rolling Stone, officials in Donald Trump's administration conned Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) into voting for current Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh while ridiculing her at the same time for being easy to manipulate with one going so far as to crassly mock her as a "cheap date."
As the Rolling Stone's Asawin Suebsaeng and Adam Rawnsley report, Collins "was deliberately manipulated by Trump administration officials — and a future Supreme Court Justice — who viewed her as an easy mark."
Collins, often mocked for her constant professions of being "concerned" by current events, was considered to be a walkover by the Trump administration officials and supporters of Kavanaugh who felt she only needed "vague assurances" that Kavanaugh would not be a vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.
According to Rolling Stone, two former Trump officials admitted that they played Collins and then laughed at her behind her back.
“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 [on abortion] 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,” one official claimed.
The report notes that talking points were sent to GOP lawmakers who were expected to rubberstamp Kavanaugh's passage to a lifetime appointment to the court, but they didn't bother including Collins.
According to the report, "But when it came to Collins, the guidance from Team Trump was, consistently, that she not be approached, according to two sources who were close to the White House. One of the reasons, a former top Trump aide says, is because the White House and Kavanaugh allies believed that a pressure campaign from the right would backfire, and that Collins would get to a 'yes' on her own — assuming she got just the right verbal responses she wanted."
The report adds that Kavanaugh was also coached to give the sort of vague answers that would keep Collins in his camp.
"Whenever the topic of abortion came up in his prep sessions, Kavanaugh knew what to say: effectively, nothing. Typically, he would give lengthy, detailed monologues on dissents, opinions, and precedents, and then, as was his standard, refuse to divulge how he thought he’d rule if the opportunity to overturn Roe ever came up," the report states before adding a "second ex-official recalls Trump himself echoing a similar sentiment in the weeks immediately following his nomination of Kavanaugh, saying in the Oval Office that Collins would fall in line, and that Kavanaugh 'knows what to do.'"
One other former Trump official added, "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.”
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