Lisa Murkowski & Donald Trump: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

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Getty Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski and President Donald Trump on June 13.

Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski and President Donald Trump are members of the same party, but that hasn’t stopped Trump from publicly calling her out for her votes against the Senate’s plans to repeal Obamacare. Murkowski and Maine Senator Susan Collins were the only two Republicans to vote against the health care bill debate on July 25. On Thursday night, the two were joined by Arizona Senator John McCain in voting against a “skinny repeal” of the Affordable Care Act.

“3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down. As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch,” Trump tweeted after the vote. And when Murkowski voted against the debate, Trump called her out personally, writing, “Senator @lisamurkowski of the Great State of Alaska really let the Republicans, and our country, down yesterday. Too bad!”

The 60-year-old Murkowski has served in the Senate since 2002, when her father Frank Murkowski appointed her after he was elected Governor of Alaska. She was elected to a full term in 2004 and was notably re-elected in 2010 as a write-in candidate after a Tea Party candidate beat her in the Republican primary. She chairs the Senate Energy Committee.

Here’s a look at the tumultuous relationship between Trump and Murkowski.

1. After She Voted Against the Debate, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke Reportedly Called Her Office to Threaten Retribution Against Alaska

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GettyLisa Murkowski on July 27.

Hours after Trump’s July 26 tweet calling out Murkowski, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke called Murkowski and fellow Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan, The Alaska Dispatch News reported. Zinke told them that Alaska might have a tough future ahead during the Trump Administration because of Murkowski’s vote.

Sullivan, who voted for the “skinny repeal,” told the Dispatch News that Zinke delivered a “troubling message,” adding, “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.” Sullivan said it was obvious that this was in reaction to her “no” vote against the debate.

“I tried to push back on behalf of all Alaskans,” Sullivan said. “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.”

Murkowski, who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee later postponed six Trump nominees, including three Interior Department nominees, The Hill reported.

Murkowski later told reporters that she is “strong and independent” and Zinke told her what she already knew – that he wasn’t happy with her vote.

She issued the following statement on her decision to vote against the “skinny repeal.”

“I voted no on the healthcare proposal last night because both sides must do better on process and substance. The Affordable Care Act remains a flawed law that I am committed to reforming with a structure that works better for all Americans. But to do that, the Senate must fully devote itself to an effort to improve the healthcare system in this country, reduce costs, increase access, and deliver the quality of care that our families want and deserve.

“I know that access to affordable care is a challenge for so many. I hear from fishermen who can’t afford the coverage that they have, small business owners who can’t afford insurance at all, and those who have gained coverage for the first time in their life. These Alaskans have shared their anxiety that their personal situation may be made worse under the legislation considered this week.

“As a Senate, as leaders, we have an obligation to do better for those whom we serve. I stand ready to begin work with my colleagues – all of them – to reform healthcare in a more open process.”

2. Murkowski Said She Voted Against the Motion to Proceed Because She Wanted the Senate to Go Through the Committee Process

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GettySenators Shelley Moore, Dean Heller, Tim Scott and Murkowski with President Trump on July 19.

In a statement explaining her “no” vote on the Motion to Proceed with debate, Murkowksi explained that she wanted to see the Senate go through the traditional committee process before they voted on health care.

“I have repeatedly said that healthcare reform, and especially major entitlement reform, should go through the committee process where stakeholders can weigh in and ideas can be vetted in a bipartisan forum,” Murkowski explained. “I voted ‘no’ today to give the Senate another chance to take this to the committee process.”

That wasn’t a good enough explanation for Trump, who told her on Twitter that she “really let the Republicans, and our country, down.”

The Senator later told CNN that she is “not one who follows the tweets that handily,” adding that she has more important things to focus on. “I have to focus on my job. I have to focus on what I came here to do,” Murkowski told the network.

3. Murkowksi Called for Trump to Drop Out of the Race After the ‘Access Hollywood’ Tape Leaked

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GettyMurkowski and Trump in June.

After Trump’s infamous “pussygate” video leaked in October 2016, Murkowski and Sullivan were both among the Republicans who called for Trump to step down as the Republican presidential nominee.

In her statement, Murkowski wrote that the Access Hollywood tape inspired her to “withhold my support or an endorsement” of Trump.

“The video that surfaced yesterday further revealed his true character. He not only objectified women, he bragged about preying upon them,” Murkowski said in October 2016. “I cannot and will not support Donald Trump for President – he has forfeited the right to be our party’s nominee. He must step aside.”

Even before that tale was released, Murkowski walked a thin line when it came to endorsing Trump. In May 2016, she said she always supported the Republican nominee, but acknowledged Trump “has made numerous inappropriate statements in the past that are troubling.” She added, “Now, he needs to shift his focus to unite Republicans around conservative policies that will bring economic growth and prosperity back to our nation.”

Joe Miller, who ran in 2016 against Murkowski as a Libertarian, endorsed Trump. Miller was the Tea Party candidate who beat Murkowski in the 2010 Republican primary, only to lose to her in the general election.

4. Murkowski & Collins Were Also the Only 2 Republicans to Vote Against Betsy DeVos

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GettyMurkowski in January 2015.

Murkowski and Collins also teamed up to vote against Betsy DeVos, who Trump nominated for Secretary of Education. Thanks to their “no” votes, Vice President Mike Pence was needed to break the tie.

A week before the vote took place, Murkowski made it clear that she agreed with citizens who thought DeVos was unqualified for the role.

“Alaskans are not satisfied that she would uphold federal civil rights laws in schools that receive federal funds,” Murkowski explained. “They questioned her commitment to students with disability rights under (the 1975 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). They fear that the voucher programs that are intended to serve them may actually rob them of the ability to benefit from an education in an inclusive environment with their nondisabled peers.”

Murkowski did follow through with her promise, but urged cooperation with DeVos on shaping education policy. “I do look forward to her first visit to Alaska as secretary of education so she can learn more about the unique challenges and opportunities our schools face,” she said in February.

5. Murkowski Was the First Republican Senator to Call for a Special Prosecutor on Investigate Trump’s Possible Russia Ties

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GettyTrump with Senators Susan Collins, Murkowski and Orrin Hatch.

After Trump fired FBI director James Comey in May, Murkowski became the first Republican Senator to call for an independent commission or special prosecutor to look into Trump’s possible ties to Russia and his campaign’s alleged collusion with the Russian government during the 2016 presidential campaign.

“Like many Alaskans, I’m concerned about the continuous and often conflicting reports about President Trump, the FBI and Russia,” Mirkowski wrote in a statement. “The American people deserve to know the truth. I still maintain the Senate Intelligence Committee should continue conducting a thorough and fair investigation. At the same time, it’s imperative that we – Congress, the FBI, the Administration – worth to restore the public’s trust. In order to gain that credibility, it may be that we need to look to an independent commission or special prosecutor.”

Murkowski later called Comey’s testimony in June “troubling.” She also called Comey’s firing in May “cause for concern.”