Murkowski says Republicans must choose whether to be party of principles or party of Trump

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski speaks to reporters during her annual visit to the Alaska State Capitol in Juneau, on Feb. 16, 2021. (Photo by Andrew Kitchenman/KTOO and Alaska Public Media
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski speaks to reporters during her annual visit to the Alaska State Capitol in Juneau, on Feb. 16, 2021. (Photo by Andrew Kitchenman/KTOO and Alaska Public Media)

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said during her annual trip to the Alaska State Capitol that the Republican Party has to decide whether it is the party of one man — former President Donald Trump — or of principles.

“The Republican Party, in my view, was a pretty good party before Donald Trump and I believe we can be a good party after Donald Trump,” she said. “Right now, I think we’re still trying to figure out who we are.”

Murkowski acknowledged that the Alaska Republican Party may censure her for her vote to convict Trump of inciting the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol. She said she put her obligation to support the Constitution first. 

Due to COVID-19 and the delayed organization of the Alaska House, Murkowski did not give her annual address to a joint session of the Legislature. But she met with small groups of lawmakers and answered questions from news reporters. 

Murkowski said it would be a challenge for her if the Republicans became the party of Trump, but she would never switch to another party. 

“There is no way that I would go to the Democrats,” she said. “I’m not a Democrat. And so I continue to be a Republican, but I am not a Trump Republican.”

Murkowski also said states must ensure that elections are secure, but she emphasized that they shouldn’t inhibit voter participation. 

“We should be doing everything we can to make voting easier for everybody,” she said. “Not easier for Republicans, not easier for Democrats, not easier for this minority or that. Everybody. And so when we put limitations in place, either intentionally or unintentionally, that’s not who we are. We want the participation.”

Murkowski declined to announce whether she’s running for  re-election next year, but she suggested a campaign launch was in her future. 

Andrew Kitchenman

State Government Reporter, Alaska Public Media & KTOO

State government plays an outsized role in the life of Alaskans. As the state continues to go through the painful process of deciding what its priorities are, I bring Alaskans to the scene of a government in transition.

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