News and Commentary

Trump Threatens State Of Alaska To Pressure Senator Murkowski On Trumpcare

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke called Alaska’s two senators — both Republicans — to express the Trump administration’s displeasure with Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-AK) vote against debating the Republicans’ ostensible moves to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA/”Obamacare”).

Alaska Dispatch News wrote:

Early Wednesday, Trump took to Twitter to express displeasure with Murkowski’s vote. By that afternoon, each of Alaska’s two Republican senators had received a phone call from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke letting them know the vote had put Alaska’s future with the administration in jeopardy.

Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) described Zinke’s call as carrying a “troubling message”:

I’m not going to go into the details, but I fear that the strong economic growth, pro-energy, pro-mining, pro-jobs and personnel from Alaska who are part of those policies are going to stop.

I tried to push back on behalf of all Alaskans. … We’re facing some difficult times and there’s a lot of enthusiasm for the policies that Secretary Zinke and the president have been talking about with regard to our economy. But the message was pretty clear.

President Trump expressed displeasure with Murkowski’s no vote via Twitter on Wednesday:

Murkowski described her no vote against continuing deliberations on repealing or changing the ACA as serving “Alaska’s best interest”:

I base my votes on what I believe is in Alaska’s best interest. So I know that there are those who wish that I would be more in line with following the party platform, but I don’t think it should come as any surprise that there have been occasions that I have not followed the lead of the party.

Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter.