Sen. Lisa Murkowski. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said Thursday that she agreed with former Defense Secretary James Mattis' criticism of President Trump, calling it "true and honest and necessary and overdue."

Why it matters: Murkowski, who has signaled her discomfort with the president in the past, also said that she's "struggling" with her support for him in November — a rare full-on rebuke of Trump from a Senate Republican.

  • Mattis, a retired four-star Marine Corps general, condemned Trump for making a "mockery of our Constitution," saying he was "appalled" at the president's response to mass protests against police brutality and systemic racism in the wake of George Floyd's killing.
  • Murkowski has long been viewed as one of the most likely Republicans to break with Trump on policy issues, but she ultimately voted to move along his impeachment trial earlier this year without hearing from additional witnesses.

What she's saying: "[W]hen I saw Gen. Mattis' comments yesterday, I felt like perhaps we are getting to a point where we can be more honest with the concerns that we might hold internally — and have the courage of our own convictions to speak up."

  • "I didn’t support the president in the initial election, and I work hard to try to make sure that I’m able to represent my state well, that I’m able to work with any administration and any president."
  • "He is our duly elected president. I will continue to work with him. I will continue to work with this administration, but I think right now as we are all struggling to find ways to express the words that need to be expressed appropriately. Questions about who I’m going to vote for not going to vote for I think are distracting at the moment."

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What we're hearing: O'Brien's speech "will focus on the challenge presented by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to American values and the values of democratic societies around the world," a senior administration official familiar with his prepared remarks tells Axios.