GOP Senator Says She |Will Not Vote for Trump

     (CN) – Despite a fairly good start to his week, with the successful delivery of a major policy speech at the Detroit Economic Club, Donald Trump continues to be confronted by the waning for support for him by members of his own party.
     On Tuesday, Maine Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate Republican, said she will not vote for Trump in November.
     Announcing her decision in a Washington Post op-ed, Collins said she thought “long and hard” about her obligations as a member of the GOP, but concluded that Trump’s “constant stream of cruel comments and his inability to admit error or apologize” were too much to overlook.
     Just last week Collins crossed swords with Trump over comments he made insinuating that Somali refugees in Maine are potentially dangerous.
     Speaking in Portland, Maine on Aug. 4, Trump singled out Somalis before a crowd of about 1,600 attending a rally at the Merrill Auditorium in a speech party devoted to the threat of immigration.
     “We have seen many, many crimes getting worse all the time and as Maine knows, a major destination for Somali refugees,” Trump said.
     A day later, Collins said that in light of the ongoing debate in the United States over immigration reform, “Trump’s statements disparaging immigrants … are particularly unhelpful.”
     “Over Maine’s nearly 200-year history, our state has benefited greatly from immigrants from all over the world. In addition to our well-known Franco heritage, Maine has benefited from people from Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and, increasingly, Africa, including our friends from Somalia,” the senator said in a written statement.
     Although she won’t be supporting Trump at the polls in November, Collins stopped short of saying she’ll vote for Hillary Clinton instead. Instead she suggested she might vote Libertarian or possibly write in a candidate’s name.
     Her blast at her party’s standard-bearer comes on the heels of a disastrous two weeks for the Trump campaign and in the wake of the publications of a letter signed by 50 former national security officials Republicans all who say they believe if elected, the billionaire real estate developer “would be the most reckless President in American history.”
     The smack down from officials who served every Republican president from Richard Nixon to George W. Bush says “From a foreign policy perspective, Donald Trump is not qualified to be President and Commander-in-Chief. Indeed, we are convinced that he would be a dangerous President and would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.”
     Later it say: “Most fundamentally, Mr. Trump lacks the character, values, and experience to be President. He weakens U.S. moral authority as the leader of the free world. He appears to lack basic knowledge about and belief in the U.S. Constitution, U.S. laws, and U.S. institutions, including religious tolerance, freedom of the press, and an independent judiciary.”
     Just as worrying, they say, “Unlike previous Presidents who had limited experience in foreign affairs, Mr. Trump has shown no interest in educating himself. He continues to display an alarming ignorance of basic facts of contemporary international politics.”
     Trump responded by dismissing the signers and being among those who made a “mess” of the world and contributed to the rise of the Islamic State group.
     Trump has vowed not to fundamentally change the approach to campaigning that brought his success in the primaries, but a succession of polls suggest that nationally, and particularly in some all-important battleground states, he’s beginning to lose some of the support he once enjoyed among the electorate.
     The slide has encouraged Clinton to revise some of her campaign spending strategy and to double-down on states she once saw as uncompetitive. Last week one poll even showed her ahead in Georgia, a state that has been solidly in the GOP corner for years.
     The numbers have reportedly prompted aides at Clinton’s New York headquarters to speek with Democratic Party officials in Georgia and Arizona about a six-figure investment of campaign resources across the two states.
     On Monday and Tuesday, Clinton was in Florida, hoping to woo Republicans loyal to Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio while casting Trump’s economic proposals as great for the rich and big corporations and bad for everyone else.
     “I have said throughout this campaign I am not going to raise the taxes on the middle class, but with your help we are going to raise it on the wealthy,” Clinton said at a Monday rally in Kissimmee, Florida.
     Trump meanwhile continues to press on, hoping he can reset his campaign and begin to gain some momentum a month before the first of three televised presidential debates scheduled this fall.
     On Tuesday, Trump will be in North Carolina for a pair of appearances; Clinton, meanwhile, will be in Miami, visiting a healthcare facility located in the heart of the city’s Zika outbreak.

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