GOP senators urge Trump to back off Murkowski threat

Top Senate Republicans are urging President TrumpDonald John TrumpKimberly Guilfoyle reports being asymptomatic and 'feeling really pretty good' after COVID-19 diagnosis Biden says he will rejoin WHO on his first day in office Lincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad MORE to back off a threat to campaign against Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump backs another T stimulus, urges governors to reopen schools Romney, Collins, Murkowski won't attend GOP convention Senators will have access to intelligence on Russian bounties on US troops MORE (R-Alaska) if she runs for reelection in 2022.

Trump tweeted late last week that he would be campaigning in Alaska in 2022 against Murkowski and would back anyone with a "pulse" after she told reporters that she was "struggling" with whether she could support him in 2020.

But top Senate Republicans indicated on Monday that they don't support efforts to unseat Murkowski, who is one of the Senate GOP caucus's most moderate members.


"I'd leave Lisa alone. She's a member of our conference, and we want to keep it that way," said Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneClash looms over next coronavirus relief bill Trump second-term plans remain a mystery to GOP Republicans fear backlash over Trump's threatened veto on Confederate names MORE (S.D.), the No. 2 Republican senator.

Asked about Trump's tweet, Sen. John CornynJohn CornynLincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad Chamber of Commerce endorses Cornyn for reelection George Floyd and the upcoming Texas Democratic Senate runoff MORE (R-Texas), an adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad State and local officials beg Congress to send more election funds ahead of November Teacher's union puts million behind ad demanding funding for schools preparing to reopen MORE (R-Ky.), told reporters, "I don’t support that at all."

Murkowski has found herself once again a target for Trump after she told reporters she was struggling with whether she could back Trump, even as she said she would continue to work with him and the administration.

"I am struggling with it. I have struggled with it for a long time," said Murkowski, who did not vote for Trump in 2016.

Trump quickly fired back that in 2022 he will be "in the Great State of Alaska (which I love) campaigning against Senator Lisa Murkowski."


"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.

Murkowski on Monday said she stood by her comments despite the president's reaction.

"I think it's important that we have a president that's working to bring people together," she said. "Tone and words matter."

Asked if his tweet made it less likely she would support him, Murkowski recounted how she told a reporter during the debate over repealing ObamaCare that she "cannot live in fear of a tweet."

"That's where I am now," she said.


It's not the first time Trump has signaled frustration with the GOP senator. After she came out in opposition to then-Supreme Court nominee Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughSupreme Court sides with religious schools in discrimination suits Romney, Collins, Murkowski won't attend GOP convention Susan Collins signals she won't campaign against Biden MORE, Trump vowed that Murkowski would "never recover" with Alaska voters.

Murkowski was appointed to her Senate seat in 2002, before winning her first full term in 2004.

In 2010, she became the second Senate candidate to win a write-in campaign, which she launched after losing the battle for her party's nomination.

On Monday, two members of GOP leadership — Sens. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntState and local officials beg Congress to send more election funds ahead of November Clash looms over next coronavirus relief bill Senate Democrats urge Pompeo to ensure Americans living overseas can vote in November MORE (R-Mo.) and John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoCourt upholds protections for Yellowstone grizzly bears OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump nominates controversial, longtime acting head of BLM as director | Ernst sinks vote on Trump EPA nominee | Massive dust storm from Africa hits Texas, Louisiana Ernst sinks vote on Trump EPA nominee MORE (R-Wyo.) — pointed to Murkowski's write-in campaign, signaling that she would likely be hard to beat in Alaska.

"She won a ... write-in in her race. The last time that had happened was 1954," Barrasso said. "She knows her state."