Republican Sen. Susan Collins said she will vote against anyone President Trump names to fill late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's seat because "we're simply too close to the election."
The Maine senator issued a statement on Saturday, saying that she believes waiting until after the election is the right decision.
She reiterated that statement today.
"My statement was a model of clarity,” she said. “I made it very clear, yes, that I did not think there should be a vote prior to the election. And if there is one, I would oppose the nominee, not because I might not support that nominee under normal circumstances, but we're simply too close to the election, and in the interest of being fair to the American people — and consistent, since it was with the [Merrick] Garland nomination. The decision was made not to proceed, a decision that I disagreed with, but my position did not prevail. I now think we need to play by the same set of rules."
However, Collins' announcement may not make a difference, as more Republicans fall in line with GOP leaders are now making clear they are pressing ahead to get the nomination confirmed before Election Day, which would amount to one of the quickest proceedings in modern times. And it comes despite Senate Republicans' refusal to move on then-President Barack Obama's nomination of Garland to a seat in 2016 when they said his choice — eight months before November — was too close to the elections.
Currently, there are 53 GOP senators — meaning Republicans can only lose three votes to advance the nomination if Vice President Mike Pence stepped in to cast a tie-breaking vote.
So far, only two Republicans — Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Collins — have voiced opposition to taking up whomever Trump nominates to fill Ginsburg's vacant seat before Nov. 3.
It is unclear if there will be any further defections within GOP ranks.