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Sen. Lisa Murkowski ‘can’t get behind Donald Trump,’ vague about her future with GOP

Sen. Lisa Murkowski ripped into former President Donald Trump Sunday, categorically ruling out the possibility of voting for him while being evasive about her future with the Republican Party.

“I wish that as Republicans, we had … a nominee that I could get behind,” Murkowski (R-Alaska) vented to CNN. “I certainly can’t get behind Donald Trump.”

Earlier this month, Murkowski, 66, gave a last-minute endorsement to former Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley, who dropped out of the race days later in the wake of a Super Tuesday drubbing.

The Alaskan senator has long exhibited a penchant for bucking party lines. Back in 2021, she was one of seven Republican senators who voted to convict Trump during the aftermath of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Only four of those seven are still in the Senate. So far, Murkowski is the only one of those seven to survive a reelection bid.

She hasn’t been shy about going after Trump, 77, either, and recently denounced him for describing the individuals arrested for their actions during the Capitol riot as “hostages.”

“What happened on January 6 was … an effort by people who stormed the building in an effort to stop an election certification of an election. It can’t be defended,” Murkowski told the outlet.

Murkowski is also pro-abortion rights and voted against confirming Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court back in 2018.

She has weathered fierce primary competition including from Trump-backed attorney Kelly Tshibaka in 2022 and famously was forced to mount a write-in campaign after getting knocked out of the primary in 2010 by Republican Joe Miller.

After all that, Murkowski remains a registered Republican, but she is coy about how much longer she will stay that way.

“Oh, I think I’m very independent-minded,” she explained to CNN. “I just regret that our party is seemingly becoming a party of Donald Trump.”

“I am navigating my way through some very interesting political times. Let’s just leave it at that,” she went on, demuring on the question of whether she will stick with the GOP.

Murkowski first ascended to the Senate in 2002 following an appointment by her father, former Gov. Frank Murkowski, and was generally in sync with her party. But that slowly changed over time.

“I am navigating my way through some very interesting political times. Let’s just leave it at that,” she went on, demuring on the question of whether she will stick with the GOP.

Back in 2008, Murkowski was forced to contend with then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin notching the nod to become vice president, despite her public criticisms of Murkowski’s father. The senator put out a statement in support of Palin nonetheless.

She is the second most moderate Republican in the Senate after Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), according to GovTrack.

Most of her tenure in the upper chamber has taken place under the leadership of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who became the No. 1 Senate Republican in 2007.

McConnell has been very defensive of moderates within the GOP conference, even endorsing Murkowski over Tshibaka against Trump’s wishes. But McConnell is set to step down from his perch at the end of the year.


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