Republican Sen. Susan Collins says Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is not happy with her for believing that the Senate should hold hearings for President Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland.
Asked in a radio interview on Tuesday if she was "catching hell from her own party," Collins said, "Not really. Obviously, the leader's not real happy with me."
"I'm sure there's some people who are unhappy with me, but this is a solemn responsibility and is very important," she continued, noting both sides have played politics in the past with contentious Supreme Court nominations.
Collins said she was "perplexed" by McConnell's position given the possible outcomes of the presidential election.
"I must confess I'm a bit perplexed by his position, because let's say that Hillary Clinton is the next president of the Untied States," she said. "I personally believe that she would be likely to choose a nominee who is to the left of Judge Garland. If you're caring a lot about the balance of the court — and I know Sen. McConnell cares deeply about the balance of the court and is worried this nominee is gonna tip the balance of the court — if the next president is a Democrat, then the balance could be tipped way further than Judge Garland, based on what I know about him so far."
Collins continued, saying, "If the nominee is, let's say that it is Mr. Trump, and he becomes the next president, who knows who his nominee would be. He's rather unpredictable. So, I'm not quite sure what his thinking is, but it's clearly one that he believes strongly in. And, as he says, it's the principle, not the person. To me, the person makes all the difference. That's what you evaluate and that's what I've always done when approached with judicial nominees."
Collins said she didn't know yet if she'd support Trump as the Republican nominee.
"I've always supported the Republican nominee but I'm gonna wait and see," she concluded.
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Andrew Kaczynski at email@example.com.
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