During Trump’s first public speech since leaving office, at the Conservative Political Action Conference late last month, he called Murkowski and other Republicans who backed impeachment “grandstanders” and “Republicans in name only,” or “RINOs.”
“Absolutely,” McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, replied when asked by CNN if the National Republican Senatorial Committee would back Murkowski.
In his statement on Saturday, Trump pointed to Murkowski’s vote to confirm Deb Haaland, President Joe Biden’s nominee for Interior Secretary.
“(Murkowski’s) vote to advance radical left democrat (sic) Deb Haaland for Secretary of the Interior is yet another example of Murkowski not standing up for Alaska,” Trump said.
CNN has reached out to Murkowski’s office for comment.
The moderate Republican has experience surviving challenges from the right. In 2010, for example, after losing the Republican nomination (and GOP leadership’s support), she went on to win the general election as a write-in candidate. Also working in the senator’s favor this cycle may be a new “top four” system in the state, where all candidates run together in a nonpartisan primary and the four top finishers advance to the general election, where voters rank their preferences.
CNN’s Manu Raju and Ted Barrett contributed to this report.