Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska called on President Trump to resign and said she is questioning her future with the Republican Party days after a riotous mob of Trump supporters violently stormed the Capitol.
“I want him to resign. I want him out. He has caused enough damage,” she told James Brooks of the Anchorage Daily News in an interview Friday.
It’s important to note that Murkowski is not saying she supports impeachment, which the Democrats plan to introduce on Monday. Nor does she plan to join the Democratic majority. What she is saying is that Donald Trump — the man with a gigantic ego who has done everything possible, including inciting an insurrection in the Capitol, to maintain his hold on power — should act reasonably and voluntarily step down days before the next president is inaugurated.
Murkowski explained she came to this decision because Trump has not been focused on governing: “I think he should leave,” she said. “He said he’s not going to show up. He’s not going to appear at the inauguration. He hasn’t been focused on what is going on with COVID.”
The senator continued, “He’s either been golfing or he’s been inside the Oval Office fuming and throwing every single person who has been loyal and faithful to him under the bus, starting with the vice president. He doesn’t want to stay there. He only wants to stay there for the title. He only wants to stay there for his ego. He needs to get out. He needs to do the good thing, but I don’t think he’s capable of doing a good thing.”
But, Murkowski, perhaps remembering she is up for reelection in less than two years, made certain she didn’t offend anyone who broke into the Capitol and vandalized it by placing the blame for Wednesday’s chaos at Trump’s feet. “There may have been many, many, many, many good Americans who came to Washington, D.C., because they felt strongly in support of this president,” she hedged.
Murkowski is uniquely positioned to separate herself from the Republicans. In the 2010 election, Murkowski was primaried by a Tea Party-backed challenger, Joe Miller, who won the Republican nomination for Senate. So Murkowski ran as a write-in candidate and won, becoming the first senator in half a century to win such a campaign.
“Well, you know, there’s a lot of people who actually thought that I [left the party] in 2010, think that I became an independent. I didn’t have any reason to leave my party in 2010. I was a Republican who ran a write-in campaign and I was successful,” she said.
But now, she says she is contemplating leaving the party: “If the Republican Party has become nothing more than the party of Trump, I sincerely question whether this is the party for me.”
Despite her words now, Murkowski has supported the president, voting in line with Trump’s position 73.8% of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight, although that is less than most Republicans. When Trump was impeached, Murkowski voted against hearing more witnesses and against convicting him at the beginning of 2020. And while she voted against Trump Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in 2018, she also voted for nominee Amy Comey-Barrett in 2020.