Sen. Susan Collins' criticism of Trump rings hollow when she keeps giving him exactly what he wants.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) is, as per usual, trying to have her cake and eat it. She wants so badly to maintain her undeserved reputation as a “moderate” who stands up for women, even as she sends plenty of signals that she’s willing to put anti-woman extremist Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court.

Now, she’s even feigning offense at Trump’s disgusting attack on Christine Blasey Ford for her extremely credible accusation that Kavanaugh tried to rape her when they were both in high school. Trump said that if Ford really was assaulted when she was 15 — which he clearly does not believe — she or her parents would have immediately filed a report with the local police, or even the FBI.

The implication is obvious and ugly: If Ford can’t produce such records, she must be lying.

“I was appalled by the president’s tweet,” Collins said. “First of all, we know that allegations of sexual assault – I’m not saying that’s what happened in this case – but we know allegations of sexual assault are one of the most unreported crimes that exist. So I thought that the president’s tweet was completely inappropriate and wrong.”

It’s a remarkable act of rhetorical gymnastics to claim she is appalled by Trump’s suggestion that Ford isn’t telling the truth, while at the same time saying she’s also not sure Ford is telling the truth.

But that’s standard operating procedure for Collins.

In July, she said she would not vote for a Supreme Court nominee who “demonstrated hostility to Roe v. Wade.” But after Trump nominated Kavanaugh — who has a very clear record of such hostility — Collins indicated she was willing to accept his meaningless statement that Roe is “settled law.”

And as Collins faces enormous pressure to vote against Kavanaugh, she’s lashing out at her critics and accusing them of trying to bribe her just because they’re raising money to fund an opposition campaign against her in 2020.

Collins certainly seems like she wants to give Kavanaugh a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land, even though he will almost certainly gut the rights and protections she claims she values.

Now, as Kavanaugh faces increased criticism and concerns in the face of very serious allegations, Collins is still unwilling to say she won’t support him. She’s also unwilling to criticize her Republican colleagues, who have unleashed horrible and disgusting attacks on Ford and have made despicable excuses for rape.

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, for example, said he doesn’t even care if the allegation is true — he still thinks Kavanaugh is a “good man” anyway and should be confirmed. If Collins is so “appalled” by Trump’s attitude about sexual assault, why isn’t she screaming bloody murder about Hatch?

The truth, no matter how much Collins tries to hide it, is that she’s a Republican first and foremost. She votes with the Trump agenda 79 percent of the time, and despite her statement about Trump, she’s giving the rest of her party’s deplorable attitude about sexual assault victims a pass.

If Collins wants to prove her independence and her support for women, she’s going to have to do a lot more than issue half-hearted statements. She’s going to actually have to put her vote where her mouth is.

Published with permission of The American Independent.