Morning Joe panel mocks Sen Susan Collins over sidewalk chalk police report
The Maine senator is one of just a handful of pro-choice Repubicans in the Senate, the other two being Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia. Despite this stance, she has thus far refused to sign on to a Democratic bill to enshrine abortion rights into federal law, citing a desire to protect religious hospitals that refuse to perform abortion services.
This dispute now has serious national prominence given the leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion overturning both Roe v Wade and Planned Parenthood v Casey, which is not final but the Court has confirmed as accurate. With the Court appearing likely to strip away the legal protections for abortion rights at the federal level, furious abortion rights supporters have turned their fire on GOP senators including Ms Collins.
Activists chalked pro-abortion messages on the sidewalk outside of Ms Collins’s house in Maine; the senator responded in the morning by phoning law enforcement to file a police report. The incident was first reported in the The Morning Sentinel.
But the messages, which urged Ms Collins to support the Women’s Health Protection Act, were not considered by police to be any threat, and no investigation was conducted.
Her urge to call the police after discovering the message was mocked on Morning Joe by co-hosts Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski, and Willie Geist.
“Well, of course, you know, you call the police, Willie,” Scarborough, a former GOP congressman, exclaimed to Geist. “Obviously, if somebody writes on a sidewalk, a public sidewalk with chalk. My God. I mean, what? Why?”
Geist joked moments later: “Whenever there are little girls drawing chalk and playing Double Dutch outside my house, I always call the police.”
Brzezisnki largely stuck to reading from the Sentinel’s reporting, while noting the “colorful” descriptions of the situation from her co-hosts.
“Yeah. The message did not constitute a crime. So there you go. Chalk art, not a crime,” she summarised.
The chalk art was reportedly washed away by city workers, according to local media, but returned overnight Wednesday after the story was shared widely on social media.
“Having called the cops about the chalk may turn out to have been a miscalculation on Susan Collins’ part, just with regard to the increased likelihood that she will be chalked till the end of time,” noted New York Magazine’s Rebecca Traister.
Democrats are set to vote in the coming days on legislation that would codify abortion rights, the Women’s Health Protection Act, over compromise legislation offered by Ms Collins.
“We’re still working on it, I haven’t tried to do a count and people are going to want to look at the legislation,” Ms Collins told The Independent on Tuesday. “Obviously, I think it’s going to be difficult to get a consensus.”
It’s still unclear if the bill will even have the votes of all 50 Democratic senators, given Joe Manchin’s past opposition to the legislation. The bill is almost certain to fail in the evenly-divided Senate, but Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said that he is determined to get the votes of every senator on codifying abortion rights into law on the record.