Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, listens Wednesday during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Credit: Greg Nash / AP

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins on Thursday called President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic “extremely uneven.”

Her remarks come after this week’s revelation that Trump told journalist Bob Woodward that he intentionally downplayed the coronavirus despite recognizing it was “deadly stuff.” Trump made the comments to Woodward during an interview for the veteran journalist’s upcoming book, “Rage.”

Collins has previously criticized Trump’s pandemic response as “very uneven,” while she has praised other actions taken in response, singling out in an April interview with the Bangor Daily News the president’s late January order restricting travel to the U.S. from China. The Republican again struck a critical tone in a Thursday interview with Maine Public.

“His handling of the coronavirus crisis has been extremely uneven,” Collins said.

They were her first remarks on the Woodward revelations from earlier this week. The senator’s office did not respond to a Wednesday request for comment on them and referred a BDN reporter to Collins’ yet-to-be-published comments to Maine Public on Thursday.

Her fellow Maine senator, independent Angus King, also criticized Trump’s remarks, saying in a series of Thursday tweets that Trump has shown an “abject failure of leadership, and the full extent of this failure grows more clear with each passing day and each new death.”

BDN writer Jessica Piper contributed to this report.

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