GOP senators urge Trump to back off Murkowski threat

Top Senate Republicans are urging President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden campaign slams Facebook after thousands of ads blocked by platform's pre-election blackout Mnuchin says he learned of Pelosi's letter to him about stimulus talks 'in the press' Harris to travel to Texas Friday after polls show tie between Trump, Biden MORE to back off a threat to campaign against Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiAlaska Senate race sees cash surge in final stretch Bitter fight over Barrett fuels calls to nix filibuster, expand court The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Justice Barrett joins court; one week until Election Day 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 ThuneBiden to campaign in Minnesota as GOP ups pressure in 'sleeper' state GOP sees path to hold Senate majority Ensuring more Americans have access to 5G technology MORE (S.D.), the No. 2 Republican senator.

Asked about Trump's tweet, Sen. John CornynJohn CornynGOP sees path to hold Senate majority Cook moves Texas to 'toss-up' Biden pushes into Trump territory MORE (R-Texas), an adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMnuchin says he learned of Pelosi's letter to him about stimulus talks 'in the press' On The Money: Trump makes a late pitch on the economy | US economy records record GDP gains after historic COVID-19 drop | Pelosi eyes big COVID-19 deal in lame duck Lawmakers say infrastructure efforts are falling victim to deepening partisan divide 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 KavanaughVermont secretary of State says Kavanaugh's correction still unsatisfactory Kavanaugh corrects opinion in voting case following Vermont official's objection The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump, Biden blitz battleground states 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 BluntWorking together to effectively address patient identification during COVID-19 Trump announces intention to nominate two individuals to serve as FEC members Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid MORE (R-Mo.) and John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoSenate GOP to drop documentary series days before election hitting China, Democrats over coronavirus Hillicon Valley: Senate panel votes to subpoena Big Tech executives | Amazon says over 19,000 workers tested positive for COVID-19 | Democrats demand DHS release report warning of election interference GOP senators call on Trump to oppose nationalizing 5G 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."