Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-A.K.) voted against debating the repeal of the Affordable Care Act earlier this week—and President Donald Trump appears to be out for revenge.
On Wednesday, Trump tweeted specifically about Murkowski, saying she let “our country” down.
“Senator @lisamurkowski of the Great State of Alaska really let the Republicans, and our country, down yesterday. Too bad!” Trump wrote.
Senator @lisamurkowski of the Great State of Alaska really let the Republicans, and our country, down yesterday. Too bad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
However, the president’s Twitter bullying was just the surface. Here’s what you need to know:
- Retribution: Each of Alaska’s two senators received a phone call from the Trump administration telling them that the healthcare vote “had put Alaska’s future with the administration in jeopardy,” according to Alaska Dispatch News.
- “Troubling message”: The Dispatch News further reports that Murkowski and fellow Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan (R) received messages from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Sullivan said the call sent a “troubling message.” When asked about it, Sullivan reportedly said: “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.”
- Not the first time: The Trump wing of the GOP has a history of strong-arming members of their own party. Last month, Sen. Dean Heller (R-N.V.) was targeted by a pro-Trump group with television advertisements after he voiced his concerns with the healthcare bill.
- Investigate! Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), the ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, has called for an investigation into Zinke’s actions. “Running a department of the federal government means you serve the American people as a protector of their rights and freedoms,” he said in a statement. “It doesn’t mean you serve the president as a bag man for his political vendettas. Threatening to punish your rivals as political blackmail is something we’d see from the Kremlin. Secretary Zinke’s willingness to deliver these threats speaks volumes about his ethical standards and demonstrates that Interior’s policy positions are up for political grabs, rather than based on science or the public interest.”