Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images
President Trump will visit one of Maine’s least populous towns and its most conservative county when he tours a factory producing medical swabs for coronavirus testing on Friday.
Conspicuously absent during the trip will be the state’s only Republican member of Congress, Sen. Susan Collins.
Collins, who faces a tough reelection fight to secure her fifth consecutive term, will remain in Washington, D.C. when the president travels to Puritan Medical Products in Guilford, Maine.
Earlier this week Collins told Maine Public Radio she’ll be working in Washington Friday and that she’ll be holding a virtual fundraiser with South Dakota Republican Sen. John Thune in the afternoon.
Collins visited the Puritan Medical factory in May, but her decision to not tour alongside a president whose electoral fortunes could affect her own has drawn considerable scrutiny. Trump continues to face withering criticism for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing protests over police violence against African-Americans.
Collins has largely steered clear of commenting on Trump’s pandemic response, but this week she joined others in criticizing the administration’s decision to use chemical irritants to forcefully clear peaceful protesters from a square in front of the White House so that the president could pose for pictures in front of a church there.
“It was painful to watch peaceful protesters be subjected to tear gas in order for the president to go across the street to a church I believe he’s attended only once,” Collins told reporters at the capitol on Tuesday.
Trump took notice, citing Collins when he shared a column on Twitter from a conservative website that repeated White House claims that tear gas wasn’t used.
You got it wrong! If the protesters were so peaceful, why did they light the Church on fire the night before? People liked my walk to this historic place of worship! Sen. Susan Collins, Sen. James Lankford, Sen. Ben Sasse. Please read @MZHemingway below. https://t.co/PbVaUcKmXf
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 3, 2020
Collins’s announced she would not attend the president’s visit to her home state before the uproar over his handling…