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Lisa Murkowski Says She 'Absolutely' Won't Vote For Trump, Doesn't Rule Out Leaving GOP

Senator Lisa Murkowski, a seasoned Republican from Alaska, is contemplating departure from the GOP amidst her stark disagreement with Donald Trump's influence on the party's direction.

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Lisa Murkowski Photo: Getty Images

Senator Lisa Murkowski, dismayed by Donald Trump's presidential candidacy and the trajectory of her party, refuses to rule out departing from the GOP.

The seasoned Alaska Republican, one of seven Republicans who voted to convict Trump in his second impeachment trial following the events of January 6, 2021, has severed ties with the former president and asserted she "absolutely" will not vote for him.

“I wish that as Republicans, we had … a nominee that I could get behind,” Murkowski told CNN. “I certainly can’t get behind Donald Trump.”

The party's embrace of Trump has prompted Murkowski to contemplate her future within the GOP. During the interview, she declined to confirm whether she intends to remain a Republican.

When asked if she might transition to being an independent, Murkowski remarked, "Oh, I consider myself very independent-minded." She further stated, “Oh, I think I’m very independent minded.” And she added: “I just regret that our party is seemingly becoming a party of Donald Trump.”

Pressed on the possibility of becoming an independent, Murkowski replied, “I am navigating my way through some very interesting political times. Let’s just leave it at that.”

Murkowski hasn't always found herself at odds with her party. Initially appointed in 2002 by her father, Governor Frank Murkowski, the senator's political views aligned with the president at the time, George W. Bush. She also maintained a close relationship with the senior GOP senator from her state, Ted Stevens, who played a pivotal role in Alaska's development by securing federal funds for the state.

Later, Senator Lisa Murkowski found herself in conflict with then-Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who was Senator John McCain's running mate and had been highly critical of Murkowski's father. As the Tea Party gained momentum in 2010, Murkowski clashed with the insurgent right-wing faction of her party. She lost the primary election in 2010 to Republican Joe Miller but managed to retain her seat after successfully conducting a write-in campaign for the Senate in the general election, becoming only the second candidate ever to achieve this.

Despite facing challenges, Murkowski comfortably won reelection in her subsequent two campaigns. Her controversial decisions, including voting to convict Trump in 2021, opposing Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court in 2018, and supporting Ketanji Brown Jackson's nomination in 2022, did not hinder her electoral success. In 2022, she was targeted by Trump and his supporters but received backing from Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell and his well-funded outside group.

During the 2024 election cycle, Murkowski, along with Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine, provided a last-minute endorsement for former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, just days before Haley withdrew from the race.

Currently, Murkowski is adamant about distancing herself from Trump. When questioned about Trump's recent remarks suggesting that Jewish people who vote for Democrats must "hate" their religion, Murkowski condemned the statement as "incredibly wrong and an awful statement."

Furthermore, Murkowski pushed back against Trump's other controversial rhetoric from the previous week, particularly his assertion that individuals detained following the events of January 6 are "hostages" and "patriots" deserving of pardon.

“I don’t think that it can be defended,” Murkowski stated. “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.”