Mar 24, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Sen. Lisa Murkowski not ruling out splitting with GOP

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is not ruling out potentially leaving the GOP, per a CNN interview airing Sunday.

Why it matters: Murkowski cited former President Trump's grip on the Republican Party as a reason for her discontent with the GOP, saying, "I certainly can't get behind Donald Trump."

What she's saying: "Oh, I think I'm very independent-minded," Murkowski told CNN's Manu Raju in an interview airing on "Inside Politics Sunday with Manu Raju."

  • Murkowski did not confirm she would move to become an independent, saying, "I am navigating my way through some very interesting political times, so let's just leave it at that."
  • If Murkowski changed her party affiliation, she would join a short list of senators who have done so. The most recent being Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), who announced earlier this month that she would not run for re-election.

Murkowski, who endorsed former UN ambassador Nikki Haley just days before she dropped out of the presidential race, said she "absolutely" wouldn't vote for Trump.

  • "I wish that as Republicans, we had a nominee that I could get behind," she added.
  • Murkowski said she regrets that the GOP "is seemingly becoming a party of Donald Trump."

Flashback: Murkowski was one of seven Republicans who voted to convict Trump back in 2021, finding him "guilty" of inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. He was ultimately acquitted.

Zoom out: The Republican Party has seen a flurry of politicians in Congress heading for the exit, most commonly to retire or for another job.

  • Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wisc.) said he would resign in April, leaving House Republicans a one-vote margin.
  • Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) also stunned GOP leadership when he announced his resignation. Buck left office on March 22.

Go deeper: Republicans livid as chaos threatens to cannibalize House majority

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