Following the Senate’s dramatic vote to open debate on its latest effort to repeal Obamacare, which subsequently failed, Donald Trump singled out Alaska’s Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski on Twitter. The president charged her with letting Republicans and the country down Wednesday morning, a criticism he repeated later that afternoon during a completely unrelated press conference. Murkowski responded with her own criticisms in a subsequent interview, but her comments did nothing to abate the administration or other GOP congresspeople’s anger.
Nor was any of this simply an overly-publicized political spat, as the Alaska Dispatch News reports Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke called Murkowski and her colleague Sen. Dan Sullivan to warn them of possible negative repercussions. Calling it a “troubling message,” Sullivan 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.” Here’s more:
“I tried to push back on behalf of all Alaskans… 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,” Sullivan said.
Murkowski didn’t respond to the paper’s request for comment, and Sullivan wasn’t willing to go into the precise details of what Zinke said or inferred during their conversation. Even so, the Interior Secretary’s message apparently conveyed that Murkowski’s votes on Tuesday “had put Alaska’s future with the administration in jeopardy.” As for the Sullivan’s concerns regarding the state’s economic future, these may have had something to do with the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Five-Year Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2019-2024, about which Murkowski and 35 other Republican senators submitted a letter of support to Zinke on Wednesday.
(Via Alaska Dispatch News)