Sen. Lisa Murkowski calls Mattis' scathing essay about Trump 'true, honest,' and 'overdue,' says she's struggling to support the president in 2020

Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesGOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
  • In one of the strongest rebukes of President Donald Trump from any Republican in Congress, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska told reporters she supported former Defence Secretary James Mattis speaking out against the president.
  • Murkowski had generally avoided direct condemnations of Trump, often facing criticism for waffling during the most controversial moments of the Trump presidency with the likes of Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.
  • She described the comments made by Mattis in his essay published in The Atlantic this week as “true, honest, necessary, and overdue.”
  • “Perhaps we’re getting to the 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,” Murkowski told congressional reporters on Thursday.
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Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska came out Thursday with surprising comments, given her history of trying to thread the rhetorical needle during the Trump presidency.

Murkowski, who is not up for reelection until 2022, told congressional reporters that she found the criticism of President Donald Trump by former Defence Secretary James Mattis to be “true, honest, necessary, and overdue.”

“Perhaps we’re getting to the 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,” Murkowski said, according to reporters on Capitol Hill.

As for whether she would support Trump in 2020, she reportedly said “I’m struggling with it.”

Often lumped in with her fellow Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, Murkowski has faced criticism over the past three years for waffling on key issues in the Trump presidency, such as when she voted to block witnesses and ultimately acquit Trump during impeachment.

Murkowski’s personal brand in Alaska, stemming from her father’s tenure as senator – he also appointed her to the job – keeps her more insulated than other Senate Republicans from facing the full ire of Trump’s base.

Back in 2010, Murkowski even managed to win back her seat as a write-in candidate after losing in the GOP primary.

Asked whether she agreed with Mattis’ assessment of Trump, which concluded that the president “does not even pretend to try” to unite the Country, Murkowski said, “Yes I do.”

She was also joined Thursday by another GOP colleague, Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, who called Mattis “an American patriot of extraordinary service and sacrifice and great judgment.”

Asked by a congressional reporter whether he agreed with Mattis, Romney replied, “Well, you’ve seen my comments.”

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