CNN Exclusive: Sen. Collins on not supporting Trump: "The tipping point for me was his attack on the Khans"
August 9th, 2016
04:08 PM ET

CNN Exclusive: Sen. Collins on not supporting Trump: "The tipping point for me was his attack on the Khans"

In her first TV interview since revealing that she is not supporting Donald Trump, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) talks exclusively with Special Correspondent Jamie Gangel, stating, “The tipping point for me was his attack on the Khans.  When he showed absolutely no empathy or compassion for their terrible loss and instead attacked the two gold star parents, and also attacked their religion.  That was just the final straw for me.” When asked if she’d vote for Hillary Clinton, Sen. Collins responded, “I really don't anticipate voting for Hillary.”

VIDEO:  http://cnn.it/2b4prOE

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS:

On when she decided she wasn’t going to support Donald Trump:

“The tipping point for me was his attack on the Khans.  When he showed absolutely no empathy or compassion for their terrible loss and instead attacked the two gold star parents, and also attacked their religion.  That was just the final straw for me.”

On why she is not supporting Donald Trump:

“Donald Trump, in my judgment, would make a perilous world even more dangerous.  I worry that his tendency to lash out and his ill-informed comments would cause dangerous events to escalate and possibly spin out of control at a time when our world is beset with conflict.”

On whether she’s voting for Hillary Clinton in the general election:

“I really don't anticipate voting for Hillary.  We worked well together in the Senate, but when I listened to her convention speech, I heard a litany of new, extensive programs, promises of free this and free that, that I believe would bankrupt our country and worsen our $17 trillion deficit.  I also am concerned that her answers in the investigation of her e-mails do not match up with what the FBI found.  And those are issues that stand in the way of my supporting her.”

FULL TRANSCRIPT:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT:  Senator Collins, you have been thinking about this for a long time.  You've said you were troubled about Donald Trump.  Now, you say that he lacks the temperament, self discipline, and judgment.  Why did you decide now that you weren't going to vote for him anymore?

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE:  The tipping point for me was his attack on the Khans.  When he showed absolutely no empathy or compassion for their terrible loss and instead attacked the two gold star parents, and also attacked their religion.  That was just the final straw for me.

GANGEL:  Bottom line, do you think he was - it would be dangerous if he was president?

COLLINS:  Donald Trump, in my judgment, would make a perilous world even more dangerous.  I worry that his tendency to lash out and his ill-informed comments would cause dangerous events to escalate and possibly spin out of control at a time when our world is beset with conflict.

GANGEL:  It sounds like you're saying you think he would be dangerous.

COLLINS:  I do believe that he has the potential to cause world events to spin out of control in a dangerous way.

GANGEL:  So the $64,000 question that you didn't answer in the op-ed is, who are you going to vote for?

COLLINS:  I truly don't know.  I have a lot of concerns about Hillary Clinton, and I am not going to support her.  If the Libertarian ticket were reversed with Governor Bill Weld, former governor of Massachusetts, leading that ticket, then I would vote for the Libertarian ticket, because I know Bill Weld well and I respect him a great deal.  I may well end up writing in a name for president.

GANGEL:  We talked at the Republican Convention in Cleveland a few weeks ago, and the door was only open a crack, but the door was still open that you might vote for Hillary Clinton.  But if the election is close, would you vote for Hillary Clinton in order to defeat Donald Trump?

COLLINS:  I really don't anticipate voting for Hillary.  We worked well together in the Senate, but when I listened to her convention speech, I heard a litany of new, extensive programs, promises of free this and free that, that I believe would bankrupt our country and worsen our $17 trillion deficit.  I also am concerned that her answers in the investigation of her e-mails do not match up with what the FBI found.  And those are issues that stand in the way of my supporting her.

GANGEL:  So is that door now closed?

COLLINS:  Yes.

GANGEL:  Last question - as far as we know, Donald Trump has not said anything directly about you, but he did tweet the following this morning that I want to read to you.  He said, I am running against the Washington insiders just like I did in the Republican primaries.  These are the people that have made U.S. a mess, exclamation point, end quote.  That came out after your announcement.  Do you have any response?

COLLINS:  Well, I certainly expected a negative reaction from Donald Trump.  That doesn't surprise me.  And I'm waiting to see what names he eventually calls me, but maybe he's being held back by his advisers.  But I'm doing what I think is right.  I have very deep roots in the State of Maine and come home every weekend.  I don't think people in Maine view me as someone who has lost touch, and I certainly haven't.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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Topics: 2016 Election • CNN • CNN Politics
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