Administration

Trump vows to campaign against Murkowski after senator’s criticism

President Trump on Thursday pledged to campaign against Sen. Lisa Murkowski (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.

Murkowski said she thought former Defense Secretary James Mattis’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 McConnell (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.”

Tags Donald Trump James Mattis Lisa Murkowski Mitch McConnell

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