Speed Reads

Government Shutdown Watch

Sen. Susan Collins tells CNN's Chris Cuomo she's 'not sure' Trump 'fully' gets living 'paycheck-to-paycheck'

Sen. Susan Collins was one of six Republicans who voted for both unsuccessful Senate bills to re-open the government on Thursday, and CNN's Chris Cuomo asked her why Thursday night. "I voted yes on both because my top priority is to re-open government," she said. "I'm for any reasonable plan to bring it to an end."

Cuomo took that and went in a different direction. "Do you think the president is being reasonable, do you think he gets the pain that you just articulated, with his comments about, 'Eh, they'll make adjustments,'" and the tone-deaf remarks from his daughter-in-law and top aides? he asked. "Do you think he gets the pain that he's causing?" Collins started with tact, but conceded that a man born to great wealth probably had a limited understanding of just getting by. "There's plenty of blame to go around on this shutdown," she said, "but I'm not sure that the president fully understands what it's like to live paycheck-to-paycheck, as a lot of people in my state and elsewhere do."

Collins didn't bite when Cuomo asked why Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) hadn't brought up a bill to re-open the government sooner, saying "we've got people who are being intransigent on both sides of the aisle." Collins seemed hopeful about an effort by her and 15 other senators to craft their own bill to reopen the government, and when Cuomo asked about Trump's interference, she said "I think it would be more helpful if the president let Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell try to negotiate a plan." Cuomo asked, "Is McConnell allowed to negotiate, senator, by the way, or is he still just the president's proxy?" And Collins assured him that "he is clearly negotiating and wants this to end," adding that Trump's revived proposal to invoke emergency powers to build his wall "is very dubious from a constitutional perspective." Watch below. Peter Weber