Donald Trump thought he could bully Sen. Lisa Murkowski for voting “No” on his Obamacare repeal. He didn’t know who he was messing with.
When she and Susan Collins (R-Maine) saved Obamacare on Friday with an 11th-hour assist from John McCain (R-Ariz.), the GOP’s president was fuming. So what does he do? Since the GOP had already turned up the heat on Collins to no avail, and Trump knows McCain has zero f*cks to give, he went after her on Twitter.
Senator @lisamurkowski of the Great State of Alaska really let the Republicans, and our country, down yesterday. Too bad!
And in case she didn’t get the message, Donald Trump also had Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke make a threatening phone call to Lisa Murkowski after she voted no on Wednesday’s Motion to Proceed. Zinke also gave Sen. Dan Sullivan R-Alaska), her junior colleague, a jingle. Sullivan told the Alaska Dispatch News he believes these calls sent a “troubling message.”
“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.”
That’s right. Our vindictive, so-called president’s minion just threatened to destroy an entire state’s economy. Why? Because Lisa Murkowski won’t vote to take away her constituents’ access to healthcare.
There’s just one thing Ryan Zinke didn’t bother to think about before following his orders: You don’t make threats against someone that chairs a committee that has oversight over the department you run.
That’s right. Lisa Murkowski runs the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and can make things very difficult for Zinke and Team Trump’s pro-fossil fuels agenda. Sure enough, on Thursday morning NBC News’ Kasie Hunt tweeted out a reminder that Lisa Murkowski can put the screws to Ryan Zinke if she wants.
DELAYED: Hearing to confirm a series of nominees to Zinke's Interior. Murkowski also controls Interior $$ via approps subcom chair
— Kasie Hunt (@kasie) July 27, 2017
Then, just 30 minutes later, Hunt announced that hearings for Ryan Zinke’s six nominees to top posts in his department had been “delayed.” Ouch.
Interior nomination hearing delayed "due to uncertainty of the Senate schedule," per committee spokesperson #Murkowski
— Kasie Hunt (@kasie) July 27, 2017
The official reason given sounds innocent enough. After all, the GOP-run Senate has been very, very busy trying to take health care away from millions of Americans. But The Hill‘s take on this delay leaves little doubt that Lisa Murkowski’s sending a pointed message.
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee publicized the postponement of the vote, which included three Department of the Interior nominees, shortly after 3 p.m. on Wednesday.
Only two top positions in Ryan Zinke’s Dept. of the Interior have been filled so far. Until now, the six nominees seemed likely to sail through the hearings and get the Energy and Resource Committee’s green light. Without it, they can’t get confirmed by the Senate. Oh, and there’s one more thing. This powerful U.S. senator also chairs a Senate Appropriations Committee subpanel that controls the U.S. Dept. of the Interior’s funding.
Which brings us to the main question.
Messing with Sen. Lisa Murkowski? What the hell were they thinking?
Seriously. What the hell were Donald Trump and Ryan Zinke thinking? Given his blustering, ham-handed ways, Trump likely wasn’t thinking anything. Lisa Murkowski doesn’t need to tug the forelock. She won her seat easily in 2016 with 44 percent in a four-way race.
Trump may think his winning Alaska by 15 points gives him some clout. Then again, how many only voted for him because he promised to protect our Social Security and Medicare, and to replace Obamacare with something better and less expensive?
As The Young Turks‘ Cenk Uygur pointed out, it’s not always a bad idea for a U.S. president to go after a senator who votes against the party line. But, he adds, if you’re going to do it, you need to do it right.
“You have to do it in moderation, and you have to do it very carefully and strategically. Because if you’re gonna go after someone in your own party, you’d better not miss.”
TYT co-host Ana Kasparian also pointed out that polls show the GOP’s so-called “healthcare” bills are going over with voters like lead balloons.
“You know, Trump’s threatening her in a way. It’s a veiled threat. It’s a political threat. But what he fails to realize is that the proposals that are being put out by the GOP in regards to healthcare are not popular. They have about 20 percent support among the electorate.”
Actually, it’s even worse than that. A poll by USA Today from June showed just a dismal 12 percent of those surveyed supported the Senate’s healthcare bill. In addition, a Reuters/Ipsos poll from July shows one out of eight people who voted for Donald Trump in 2016 say they will not do so again.
Watch: TYT talks about Donald Trump’s failed attempt to bully Sen. Lisa Murkowski.
Hat tip: Crooks and Liars.