Trump endorses primary opponent of Republican senator who voted to convict him

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Former President Donald Trump endorsed the primary opponent of Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski on Friday, months after the Alaska moderate voted to convict him on a charge of incitement of insurrection.

“Lisa Murkowski is bad for Alaska,” Trump said in a statement. He cited Murkowski’s vote to approve President Biden’s choice for interior secretary, Deb Haaland, who was later confirmed, as the reason for his decision, stating that Murkowski’s approval was tantamount to voting to kill the “ANWR [Arctic National Wildlife Refuge]” and “Alaska jobs.”

Lisa MurkowskiLisa Murkowski

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images)

The former president expressed his support for her opponent, calling her a fighter for Alaska values. “Kelly Tshibaka is the candidate who can beat Murkowski — and she will.”

Trump described Tshibaka as “pro-energy, strong on the border” and “MAGA all the way.” According to the New York Times, she promoted Trump’s false voter fraud claims about the 2020 presidential election last year and met with him two weeks ago at Trump Tower to secure his endorsement.

Murkowski was among seven Republican senators who voted to convict Trump for the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. He was acquitted of the lone charge following the incident. In February, she said she understood the potential political fallout, saying she “can’t be afraid of that.”

Murkowski and some of her colleagues were censured by their states’ party officials. But she’s the only one in the group who will go before voters next year, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the party will back her reelection bid.

Despite the support, she criticized McConnell in May for attempting to block the creation of a bipartisan commission to investigate the riot. Senate Republicans were successful in stopping the measure, which passed the House.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the NCGOP state convention on June 5, 2021 in Greenville, North Carolina. (Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images)Former U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the NCGOP state convention on June 5, 2021 in Greenville, North Carolina. (Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images)

Trump addresses a recent GOP state convention in Greenville, N.C. (Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images)

Trump said he will head to Alaska in his effort to oust Murkowski in 2022. “I look forward to campaigning in Alaska for Kelly Tshibaka,” he said. “She has my Complete and Total Endorsement!”

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