Lisa Murkowski floats leaving GOP over Trump

 March 26, 2024

One of the most outwardly anti-Trump Republicans in the Senate, Lisa Murkowski, is threatening to leave her party in protest of its continued embrace of Trump.

Murkowski (al.) told CNN that she won't be supporting her party's nominee for president this year, and she might leave the GOP altogether. 

"I wish that as Republicans, we had … a nominee that I could get behind,” Murkowski, who supported Nikki Haley's failed presidential bid, said.

“I certainly can’t get behind Donald Trump.”

If Murkowski leaves the GOP, it could potentially help Senate Democrats pad their vulnerable 51-seat margin.

At the same time, her announcement is likely to be met with shrugs from those who assumed she had already left her party in spirit.

Anti-Trump senator

She voted against Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court and was among a handful of Republicans who voted to convict Trump in his second impeachment over January 6th.

Three years after the events of the "insurrection," Trump is once again the head of his party and its presumptive nominee for president. Even longtime Trump nemesis Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has acknowledged Trump's dominance with a begrudging endorsement, leaving Murkowski in a vocal minority of committed Never Trumpers.

"Oh, I think I’m very independent minded," she said, when asked if she would consider leaving the party. “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.”

Republicans poised to flip Senate

Trump has faced criticism from establishment Republicans like Murkowski with his strong rhetoric on subjects like immigration, an issue long neglected by the GOP.

Murkowski has condemned Trump's comments about mass immigration "poisoning the blood" of the country and his characterization of January 6th participants as "hostages."

“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.”

Murkowski's latest career announcement comes as Republicans are poised to flip the Senate in this year's elections.

Retiring senator Joe Manchin's (D-Wv.) seat is considered a shoo-in for Republicans, who only have to pick off one additional incumbent to gain a majority.

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