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Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

As the Republican Party is struggling to defend him in a moment of nationwide strife, President Donald Trump decided Thursday night to fuel divisions within GOP rather than make nice.

He had already lashed out on Wednesday at his former Defense Secretary James Mattis, who sharply criticized Trump's response to the ongoing George Floyd protests. But on Thursday night, Trump took at aim at sitting Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.


Murkowski had commended Mattis's comments and said publicly that she is "struggling" with the decision of whether to support Trump in his re-election. She explained: "I feel like perhaps we're getting to a point where we can be more honest with the concerns that we might hold internally."

The president did not appreciate this rebuke, mild as it may have been.

"Few people know where they'll be in two years from now, but I do, in the Great State of Alaska (which I love) campaigning against Senator Lisa Murkowski. She voted against HealthCare, Justice Kavanaugh, and much else…" Trump said in a tweet. "Unrelated, I gave Alaska ANWR, major highways, and more. Get any candidate ready, good or bad, I don't care, I'm endorsing. If you have a pulse, I'm with you!"

As far as intra-party feuds that cross the executive and legislative branches go, a president pledging to campaign against a sitting senator is the most extreme possible salvo. While Trump surely hopes it will prevent any of Murkowski's colleagues from joining her in dissent, it's unlikely to cure the unease at the root of her concerns.

And in Murkowski's case, it's an unusually weak threat. Murkowski famously lost her 2010 GOP primary race in Alaska, but she won her Senate election anyway with an impressive write-in campaign. She's thus much less reliant on the Republican Party for political power than many others, which may explain why she felt free to express her doubts in the first place. Nevertheless, it's doubtless true that she'd rather not have Trump campaigning against her when she's up for re-election if she can help it.

Gage Skidmore licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Although President Donald Trump still has his hardcore MAGA base, he is not universally loved on the right by any means. Never Trump conservatives believe that he has been detrimental to the Republican Party and the conservative movement, and some who voted for Trump in 2016 aren't planning to vote for him again this year. Voters who have changed their minds about Trump are the focus of a New York Times article published Wednesday by reporters Claire Cain Miller, Kevin Quealy and Nate Cohn.

In their article, the Times journalists aren't talking about Never Trumpers who opposed Trump from the beginning — and they note that most of the voters who supported Trump in 2016 are still supporting him now. But they delve into some reasons why onetime supporters have turned against Trump and can't bring themselves to vote for him again.

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