Murkowski Praises Mattis for Speaking Out, Says She’s ‘Struggling’ over Whether to Back Trump in Election

Sen. Lisa Murkowski arrives back from a break during the Trump impeachment trial in Washington, D.C., January 31, 2020. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska) on Thursday told reporters she could have difficulty backing President Trump in the November elections.

Murkowski made the admission after praising former defense secretary James Mattis’s criticism of Trump’s performance.

“We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership,” Mattis told the Atlantic on Wednesday. Murkowski said Mattis’s remarks were “necessary and long overdue.”

“I felt like perhaps we are getting to a point where we can be more honest with the concerns we might hold internally,” Murkowski said.

When asked whether she still supported Trump, the senator replied, “I am struggling with it. I have struggled with it for a long time.”

“Questions about who I’m going to vote for, or not going to vote for, I think are distracting at the moment,” she added.

Senator Mitt Romney (R., Utah), a frequent Trump critic, also praised Mattis’s comments without explicitly endorsing them.

“[Mattis] expressed his opinion and it was very powerful and it was a stunning letter,” Romney told the Huffington Post. “He’s an American patriot with extraordinary service and sacrifice and great judgement.”

Murkowski’s statements come at the same time that Joe Biden has seen a continuing rise in support. A Monmouth poll released on Wednesday recorded 52 percent support for Biden in the general election nationwide compared with 41 percent support for Trump. Biden’s 11-point lead is up from the 3-point lead he held in the same poll in March, when the former vice president had all but defeated Senator Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) in the Democratic primary race.

The same poll also found that while roughly half of U.S. voters said they have confidence in Biden’s ability to handle race relations in the country, about 40 percent said the same of Trump. The poll was conducted during the massive demonstrations following the death of George Floyd, an African-American man killed during his arrest by Minneapolis police officers.

However, half of voters also said race relations wouldn’t be a factor at all in deciding their vote in November, the survey found.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.


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