Lisa Murkowski, done with Donald Trump, won’t rule out leaving GOP

Mar 24, 2024, 4:36 PM

Sen. Lisa Murkowski , seen here in September 2023, aghast at Donald Trump’s candidacy and the dir...

Sen. Lisa Murkowski , seen here in September 2023, aghast at Donald Trump’s candidacy and the direction of her party, won’t rule out bolting from the GOP. (Al Drago, Bloomberg/Getty Images via CNN Newsource)

(Al Drago, Bloomberg/Getty Images via CNN Newsource)

(CNN) Sen. Lisa Murkowski, aghast at Donald Trump’s candidacy and the direction of her party, won’t rule out bolting from the GOP.

The veteran Alaska Republican, one of seven Republicans who voted to convict Trump in his second impeachment trial amid the aftermath of January 6, 2021, is done with the former president and said she “absolutely” would not vote for him.

“I wish that as Republicans, we had … a nominee that I could get behind,” Murkowski told CNN. “I certainly can’t get behind Donald Trump.”

The party’s shift toward Trump has caused Murkowski to consider her future within the GOP. In the interview, she would not say if she would remain a Republican.

Asked if she would become an independent, Murkowski said: “Oh, I think I’m very independent minded.” And she added: “I just regret that our party is seemingly becoming a party of Donald Trump.”

Pressed on if that meant she might become an independent, Murkowski said: “I am navigating my way through some very interesting political times. Let’s just leave it at that.”

Murkowski hasn’t always been on the outs within her party. Appointed in 2002 by her father, Gov. Frank Murkowski, the senator’s politics were in line with the president at the time – George W. Bush – as she maintained a tight relationship with the senior GOP senator from her state, Ted Stevens, who helped build Alaska through federal dollars he funneled back home.

She later found herself at odds with Sen. John McCain’s running mate, the then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who had been sharply critical of her father. As the tea party rose in 2010, Murkowski was at sharp odds with the insurgent right-wing of her party. She lost a primary in 2010 to Republican Joe Miller, only to later hold on to her seat after she became the second candidate ever to win a write-in campaign for Senate in the general election.

Murkowski skated to reelection in her next two elections, even after voting to convict Trump in 2021, voting against Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court in 2018 and supporting Ketanji Brown Jackson in 2022. She had been targeted by Trump and his allies in 2022 but was backed by Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell and his high-spending outside group.

In the 2024 cycle, Murkowski – along with Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine – offered a late endorsement of former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, just days before she dropped out of the race.

Now, Murkowski is clear she’s ready to move past Trump. Asked about Trump’s recent comments that Jewish people who vote for Democrats must “hate” their religion, Murkowski said it was an “incredibly wrong and an awful statement.”

And Murkowski pushed back when asked last week about Trump’s other controversial rhetoric, namely that he views January 6 prisoners as “hostages” and “patriots” who should be pardoned.

“I don’t think that it can be defended,” Murkowski said. “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.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Politics & Elections

Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene on Sunday said House Speaker Mike Johnson “betrayed” Rep...

Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN

Marjorie Taylor Greene calls on Johnson to resign after foreign aid bills pass

Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene on Sunday said House Speaker Mike Johnson “betrayed” Republican voters after the House approved new aid to Ukraine, threatening to call a vote for his ouster if he doesn’t resign.

1 day ago

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer speaks at the US Capitol earlier this year. (Craig Hudson/REUT...

Ted Barrett, Morgan Rimmer and Clare Foran, CNN

Senate passes surveillance bill despite contentious debate over privacy concerns

The Senate voted late Friday to reauthorize a key surveillance authority, avoiding a lapse in the controversial program.

2 days ago

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman speaks as he joins Ryan Smith, co-founder and chairman of Smith Enter...

Michael Houck and Lindsay Aerts, KSL TV

Smith Entertainment Group addresses the logistics and politics of bringing the NHL to Utah

On Friday, the NHL and the new owners of the Utah NHL team discussed the exciting opportunities that the team can bring to Beehive State.

3 days ago

Donald Trump sits at a table a jury has been seated for his trial...

Jennifer Peltz, Michael R. Sisak, Jake Offenhartz and Alanna Durkin Richer

Jury of 12 people and 6 alternates is seated in Trump’s hush money trial in New York

A full jury of 12 people and six alternates has been seated Donald Trump's hush money case, setting the stage for expected opening statements next week in the first criminal trial of a former U.S. president.

3 days ago

FILE: Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) speaks during a news conference following a closed-d...

Stephen Groves, Lisa Mascaro and Kevin Freking

Ukraine, Israel aid advances in rare House vote as Democrats help Republicans push it forward

The House has pushed a $95 billion national security aid package for Ukraine, Israel and other U.S. allies closer to passage.

3 days ago

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., speaks at the Capitol in Washington, Feb. 29, 2024. Short...

Melanie Zanona, Manu Raju, Annie Grayer and Lauren Fox, CNN

Johnson won’t change rules over removing him from speakership after hardliners revolt

Speaker Mike Johnson announced he will not change the procedure for removing him from the speakership.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Lisa Murkowski, done with Donald Trump, won’t rule out leaving GOP