Trump vows to campaign against Murkowski after senator's criticism
President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump alludes to possible 2024 run in White House remarks Trump threatens to veto defense bill over tech liability shield Tiger King's attorney believes they're close to getting pardon from Trump MORE on Thursday pledged to campaign against Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiPressure builds for coronavirus relief with no clear path to deal Bipartisan, bicameral group unveils 8 billion coronavirus proposal The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - GOP angst in Georgia; confirmation fight looms MORE (R-Alaska) when she's up for reelection in 2022 after the senator told reporters she was "struggling" with whether to vote for Trump in November.
"Few people know where they’ll be in two years from now, but I do, in the Great State of Alaska (which I love) campaigning against Senator Lisa Murkowski," Trump tweeted.
"Get any candidate ready, good or bad, I don’t care, I’m endorsing. If you have a pulse, I’m with you!" he added.
The president cited Murkowski's vote against a skinny repeal of the Affordable Care Act in 2017 and her vote against the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanuagh. But Trump's tweets were a clear response to the senator's criticisms earlier in the day.
...Unrelated, I gave Alaska ANWR, major highways, and more. Get any candidate ready, good or bad, I don’t care, I’m endorsing. If you have a pulse, I’m with you!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2020
Murkowski said she thought former Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - GOP angst in Georgia; confirmation fight looms Biden under pressure to remove Trump transgender military ban quickly Progressive House Democrats urge Biden against Defense chief with contractor ties MORE’s blistering criticism of Trump a day earlier was "true and honest and necessary and overdue." She suggested that it might embolden other Republicans who privately disagree with the president’s often controversial tone and conduct to speak out.
"When I saw Gen. Mattis’s comments yesterday I felt like perhaps we’re getting to the point where we can be more honest with the concerns we might hold internally and have the courage of our convictions to speak up,” she said.
Murkowski also admitted to “struggling” to decide whether to support Trump’s reelection even though she pledged to “continue to work with him and continue to work with this administration.”
Mattis, a widely respected military leader, called out Trump on Wednesday for what he said was a lack of a “mature leadership” and accused him for intentionally trying to divide the nation amid ongoing unrest after George Floyd's death.
Murkowski is not up for reelection until 2022. She was first elected to the Senate in 2004. In 2010, she lost her primary race but won reelection on the strength of a write-in campaign. She easily won reelection in 2016.
Trump asserted after Murkowski opposed Kavanaugh's nomination in 2018 that voters in Alaska would "never forgive" her and she would "never recover" politically.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPressure builds for coronavirus relief with no clear path to deal Top GOP senator warns government funding deal unlikely this week Criminal justice groups offer support for Durbin amid fight for Judiciary spot MORE (R-Ky.) defended Murkowski in the wake of those comments.
"She's about as strong as you could possibly be in Alaska," McConnell told the Associated Press in an interview at the time. "Nobody's gonna beat her. I'm proud she's in the Republican conference."