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Maine GOP leaders sign letter condemning Collins for vote to convict Trump

Members of Maine Republican State Committee signed a letter Wednesday criticizing Maine Senator Susan Collins for her vote to convict former President Donald Trump

AUGUSTA, Maine — Members of the Maine GOP State Committee signed a letter Wednesday condemning Sen. Susan Collins' vote to impeach former President Donald Trump.

State officials thanked Collins several times in the letter for what she's done for the Maine GOP, including taking the time to hear what they have to say in the wake of her vote, but said when it comes to her impeachment vote, they "cannot and will not be silent.”

Collins was among seven Senate Republicans who voted to convict; two—Richard Burr of North Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana—have already been censured by their states’ Republican parties over their votes.

The main concern of the letter to Collins was that Trump was no longer in office and a private citizen, therefore party leaders deemed the impeachment trial "unconstitutional."

RELATED: Collins: Republicans should focus on 'growing the party' rather than on one leader, after vote to convict Trump

"The argument that within the same impeachment process," the letter read, "Donald Trump can be deemed President for the purpose of initiating an impeachment but not the President to bypass Constitutional restriction on who presided over the Senate trial is an affront to the sensibilities of those who understand what occurred.”

Collins responded with her own letter Wednesday night in which she said she still stands by her actions despite the controversy. 

"My long history with the Republican party notwithstanding, as an impeachment juror, I swore to do impartial justice. This is an oath I took very seriously, just as I did when I voted to acquit President Trump in the 2020 impeachment trial. The decisions I made in both trials were based on the Constitution and the evidence before me, not on my membership in a political party or any other external factor.”    

Read Collins' full letter:

RELATED: Maine GOP to discuss possible censure of Sen. Collins for vote to convict Trump

In an interview via Zoom Tuesday with NEWS CENTER Maine’s Pat Callaghan, Collins said the Republicans should instead focus on growing their party and focus on the party’s “guiding principles” rather than on one particular leader.

“I think that we need to send a message that you can be a good Republican and not necessarily agree with every position taken by the party,” Collins said.

Watch the full interview here:

On WAGN Radio Thursday morning, Executive Director of the Maine Republican Party, Jason Savage, said, "It should be no surprise to anybody that Senator Collins thinks for herself."

"This is the exact argument that everybody made in support of her is that she's an independent thinker and she does what she thinks is right," Savage said. "At the same time, you know the members of the Maine GOP State Committee are also able to do the same thing—they think for themselves. They listen to feedbackThey're advocating for what they believe is right."

Savage said he's trying to keep the party "from being ripped apart," and that the debacle is simply a public discourse. 

"It's the party having a disagreement with a member of the party," he said. "I have, in my time here, have largely been able to keep that type of disagreement behind closed doors. In this case, it's not, but I believe that at least the dialogue is respectful. It's about this vote and about a disagreement on a vote. I think that it's the reason that there are arguments to be made."

Savage continued to say he doesn't get the sense there is any disrespect involved between the members of the party and Collins, "because it's about the issue and they're just fighting for what they believe in and what they're getting for feedback from the people that they're looking to represent."

"I've always taken great pride in being somebody who keeps these things very, very quiet and let people fight it out behind the scenes," Savage said. "This time people felt strongly that they need to say something publicly, and at the end of the day, my goal is that this party is not torn apart. That we all get through this and get back to working to elect Republicans, defeat Democrats, and enhance and support freedom all across the state and country."

Listen to the full interview on WAGN Radio here.