Murkowski is the first Republican senator to say Trump should resign: ‘I want him out.’
Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, called on Friday for President Trump to resign, denouncing him in unsparing terms and even suggesting that she might leave the Republican Party if it continued to align itself with Mr. Trump.
“I want him to resign,” Ms. Murkowski said in an interview with The Anchorage Daily News. “I want him out. He has caused enough damage.”
She went on: “He’s either been golfing or he’s been inside the Oval Office fuming and throwing every single person who has been loyal and faithful to him under the bus, starting with the vice president. He doesn’t want to stay there. He only wants to stay there for the title. He only wants to stay there for his ego. He needs to get out. He needs to do the good thing, but I don’t think he’s capable of doing a good thing.”
In the long term, Ms. Murkowski’s suggestion that she might leave the Republican Party — “if the Republican Party has become nothing more than the party of Trump, I sincerely question whether this is the party for me,” she told the Anchorage paper — could prove even more significant than her support for Mr. Trump’s removal.
With the victories of Jon Ossoff and the Rev. Raphael Warnock in Georgia’s Senate runoffs on Tuesday, Democrats will have the slimmest possible majority in the Senate, 50-50 with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris breaking ties. (Democrats’ 50-vote total includes two independents who caucus with them.) Ms. Murkowski did not say whether she would caucus with the Democrats if she left the Republican Party, but even a decision to become an independent would significantly change the political dynamics in the chamber.
If she decided to switch parties, she would not be the first to do so in recent years. Representative Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey was elected as a Democrat in 2018 but became a Republican in response to the first impeachment proceedings against Mr. Trump; shortly before that, Representative Justin Amash of Michigan changed his affiliation from Republican to independent. The last time a sitting senator switched parties was in 2009, when Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania left the Republican Party and joined the Democrats, who had just won unified control of Washington.
Congressional Republicans have broadly condemned the actions of the pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol on Wednesday in opposition to the formalizing of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory, even though many of them spent the past two months promoting the baseless assertions of election fraud that motivated the mob, and 147 voted to reject the election results.
But Ms. Murkowski, who quickly acknowledged Mr. Biden’s victory once the election was called, is one of the very few calling openly for Mr. Trump to leave office, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, before Mr. Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20.
Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois — who, like Ms. Murkowski, had been critical of Mr. Trump before this week’s events — is on record supporting the removal of Mr. Trump’s powers under the 25th Amendment, and Representative Steve Stivers of Ohio has said he would not oppose that move if Mr. Trump’s cabinet decided to do it.
Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska has said he would consider voting to remove Mr. Trump from office if the House impeached him again. But Ms. Murkowski is the first Republican senator to call unequivocally for the president’s resignation.
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