The first Republican senator to call on Donald Trump to resign after his incitement of Wednesday’s chaos has confirmed she is considering leaving the party, in a move which would give the Democrats a majority in the Senate.
Lisa Murkowski, who represents Alaska, has long been considered an independent-minded senator.
On Friday she told her local newspaper, Anchorage Daily News, that she was considering abandoning her party entirely after Trump, her party leader, whipped up his supporters into a violent frenzy and directed them to the Capitol, in an uprising which left four rioters and a police officer dead.
‘If the Republican Party has become nothing more than the party of Trump, I sincerely question whether this is the party for me,’ she said.
Only three senators have changed party while in office in the 21st century, according to the Senate’s data.
Lisa Murkowski, senator for Alaska, has said she is considering quitting the Republicans
Murkowski said that Trump should resign, saying he had done enough damage
At present the Senate is 50:50 Republicans and Democrats, with Kamala Harris, as vice president, casting the deciding vote.
Murkowski said she would not join the Democrat majority, but her resignation from the party and serving as an independent would make it far harder for the Republicans to block Joe Biden’s agenda.
Murkowski, 63, said she speaks regularly to Joe Manchin, the Democrat senator for West Virginia, who is the most conservative Democrat in the Senate and will be a key vote on many Senate actions.
‘We’ve talked a lot. In fact, my 3 o’clock call is with Joe and with a bipartisan group of colleagues that are really concerned about where we are, and how we move forward,’ she said.
‘I think I am including myself as part of a group of members that wants to work to try to bring things together in the Senate and wants to try to get some business done.
‘And this is going to be a (Biden) administration where I’m going to be disagreeing with where they’re taking us on a lot of issues and policy, but I would like to think that we’re never going to question their fidelity to the oath of office.’
Trump supporters, egged on by the president himself, stormed the Capitol on Wednesday
The mob overran the Capitol Police shortly after Trump urged them to ‘fight’ on his behalf
Trump’s supporters broke into the Senate chamber and trashed parts of the Capitol
Murkowski reiterated her calls for Trump to resign.
‘I want him to resign. I want him out. He has caused enough damage,’ she said.
‘I think he should leave.’
The senator said that Trump had abandoned his responsibilities and shown no interest in leading.
Earlier on Friday he confirmed that he would become the first president since 1869 not to attend the inauguration of his successor.
‘He said he’s not going to show up. He’s not going to appear at the inauguration. He hasn’t been focused on what is going on with COVID. 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,’ she said.
Murkowski urged Trump to resign, but admitted he was not ‘capable of doing a good thing’
‘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.’
Murkowski said that while ‘there may have been many, many, many, many good Americans who came to Washington, D.C., because they felt strongly in support of this president,’ Trump incited them to storm the Capitol.
She said the finger of blame was pointed firmly at him for the shocking scenes.
‘I will attribute it to the president, who said, even after his vice president told him that morning, ‘I do not have the constitutional authority to do what you have asked me to do. I cannot do it. I have to protect and uphold the Constitution.’
‘Even after the vice president told President Trump that, he still told his supporters to fight.
‘How are they supposed to take that? It’s an order from the president. And so that’s what they did. They came up and they fought and people were harmed, and injured and died.’
Murkowski said, in a second interview, that she was partially to blame for not having stopped Trump sooner.
‘I allowed myself to refrain from speaking my truth,’ Murkowski told Alaska Public Media. ‘And I can’t just be quiet right now.’