Trump Administration Threatens Alaska Senators
The calls came late Wednesday afternoon from the Interior Secretary.
It sounds like plot line from a movie but sadly, it is a terrifying reality. Alaska’s two senators, both Republicans, received phone calls from Ryan Zinke, Secretary of Interior, on Wednesday. During the calls, he implied there would be retribution from the Trump administration should Sen. Lisa Murkowski continue to oppose efforts to repeal Obamacare.
Sen. Dan Sullivan spoke with Alaska Dispatch News about the discussion.
“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,” Sullivan said.
“I tried to push back on behalf of all Alaskans. … We’re facing some difficult times and there’s a lot of enthusiasm for the policies that Secretary Zinke and the president have been talking about with regard to our economy. But the message was pretty clear,” Sullivan said. The Interior secretary also contacted Murkowski, he said.
Sullivan said the Interior secretary was clear that his message was in response to the no vote Murkowski cast Tuesday on the motion to proceed with debate on the House-passed health care legislation.
Sullivan also said that Murkowski, who voted against the bill, received a similar call.
Lines in the sand.
President Trump has criticized Murkowski for refusing to support the Republican’s efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Something that until now, while uncomfortable, has not been an alarming situation.
However, the nature of the phone calls takes the situation to an entirely new level. One that rings more of organized crime than government. It is no coincidence the call was made by Zinke, whose department oversees federal lands and natural resources. The Interior Department deals heavily with the state. Sullivan admitted he perceived it as a direct threat that should Murkowski not fall in line, Alaska can expect to pay the price in other areas.
The Senate is expected to vote sometime late Thursday or early Friday on a bill that repeals part of the Affordable Care Act, also known as the “skinny repeal”.